Getty Gas Station Grief

You may have noticed that the small Post Road gas station — nestled between Playhouse Square and the Saugatuck Congregational Church — no longer calls itself Getty.

You may not know the reason why. Or what it all means for a couple of locally owned franchisees, and one of the most famous names in the oil industry.

The station is among the oldest in Westport. It opened in the 1940s as a Tydol. In 1987 Jay Fisher — a Staples grad — and Jay Ostreicher bought it from Carl Dulberg.

They were a Getty station. But around 2000 Getty sold its marketing division, and became essentially a real estate company.

Over the years, more and more layers pushed John and Jay — and dozens of other franchisees — further and further from “Getty.” A series of complex transactions ensued, but the bottom line is: Near the end of December, Getty announced it was terminating leases. John and Jay’s ran through 2015.

Fifty Connecticut gas stations hired legal counsel. Attorneys advised the station owners they could buy fuel elsewhere. But they had to cover up the Getty signs.

That’s why the Westport station now says “J & J Car Care Center.” And why — though every day brings another crisis — the station is still open for business.

The Post Road station today. A small white sign over the door says "J&J Car Care." There are no Getty signs anywhere.

“We’re on pins and needles,” Jay says. “This is not what you want from a company we’ve been sending checks to since the day we opened.”

The upside, he says, is “now that we buy unbranded gas at regular market prices, we’re very competitive.”

The station is full-serve only. (Its pumps are too close to the Post Road to be self-serve.) And that service — many Westporters know — is personal and caring.

“Our customers — they’re also our friends — are great,” Jay says. “We love working with them.

“We’ll be here until we can’t be. All we want is for our lease to be honored, and our rights as a franchise holder to be respected.”

11 responses to “Getty Gas Station Grief

  1. Oh wow! They have been servicing our cars for years. Don’t know what we would do without them. Jay is a neighbor and a friend.

  2. Jay and John have been caring for our cars – for years and years. They have always acted as friends and helped out in situations where others might have refused. They are absolutely the best in terms of being first rate mechanics as well.

  3. I’ve noticed Getty stations have been very strange lately. In my area they always have prices way above what everyone else charges. They used to be among the lowest priced stations. I don’t know how that ties in to them not renewing leases but I suspect it does. Are they just deliberately not selling the gasoline to take it as a write-off?

  4. Dick Lowenstein

    Many, many years ago, when our Camry lost its timing belt in the Saugatuck Church driveway, a friend who was passing by said to bring it next door to John and Jay. Since then, we’ve taken all our cars to them and have always been satisfied. They are like family,

  5. Estelle T. Margolis

    John and Jay are like superb Doctors! They have maintained and kept our cars in good good health and working order ever since they took over this station. We totally depend on them to be there…… forever

  6. Thumbs-up from me too. Good mechanics, good service, good guys.

  7. Another note of praise. They’re the best. You know they’re never going to BS you about a repair; if they say it needs to be done, then it needs to be done. They often forget to write up the ticket for me when i come to retrieve my car and so I drive around town for days, sometimes even weeks, owing them hundreds of dollars, until they get around to figuring it out. And a shout out to Charlie, the nicest guy you’ve ever had put air in your tires and gas in your tank. They’re all wonderful human beings.

  8. These guys are terrific. The are honest, reliable and price their work fairly. I wouldn’t get my car repaired anywhere else.

  9. Ditto everything Lisa said – these guys – John, Jay, Charlie, Mike, Tommy and there are one or 2 more who always have their heads under a hood so I don’t know them – are nice, dependable, trustworthy. When they retire, they should teach workshops on customer service !!!

  10. nicest guys in town. they are def worth the extra few cents a mile for full service!

  11. It always bewildered me why the gas prices at the Getty station in town were so high compared to any other in Westport. Now this explains It — prices set by a greedy parent company! Hope the CT Getty dealers win their lawsuit.

    But no garage in Westport holds a candle to Tim Purcell (longtime Wspter who bought out Klaus Nerz when he retired) @ Christy’s on Cross Highway for keeping cars going for 277,000 miles with the fairest prices and solid, honest work and brilliant detective work about cars. John & Jay sound nice, so I hope they won’t have any more crises from Getty.