Tag Archives: J&J Car Care

Photo Challenge #158

You’d think that with all the time we spend on the Post Road, we’d notice every building along the way.

Well, you’d think wrong.

Last week’s photo challenge was a great example. Bobbie Herman’s photo showed a place we’ve all passed — a lot — but only 7 readers knew where it was.

The decrepit, vine-covered building stands next to J&J Car Care (and not far from another equally wonderful repair shop, Vautrin Auto Works).

If that doesn’t help, try this: It’s basically across from the Westport Inn.

Morley Boyd says it’s the former Polish Club. (Who knew?)

But one thing no one answered: What’s up with the building today? That’s still a challenge for “06880” readers.

Besides Morley (who answered first), other observant winners include Seth Goltzer, Pete Powell, Rick Martin, Michael Calise, Elaine Martino and Nancy Powers Conklin. (Click here to see the photo, and all comments.)

Meanwhile, this week’s photo seems obvious:

(Photo/Jaime Bairaktaris)

It’s a sign from the old Arrow restaurant. Duh.

But here’s the challenge: Where does it hang today?

If you know, click “Comments” below.

Even if you don’t know — but have a great Arrow story or two — please join the conversation.

J&J Car Care Cruises East

Downtown Westport just lost another gas station.

But the east end of town has gained some great automobile mechanics.

The latest station to yank its tanks is J&J Car Care Center. Nestled between the Westport Country Playhouse and Saugatuck Congregational Church, it opened in 1940 as a Tydol. From 1987 through late 2011 it was a Getty station. Then — in a small guys-vs.-big oil company dispute — owners Jay Oestreicher and John Fisher went independent and unbranded, which they remained until last month.

The former site of J&J Car Care, on Post Road East.

The former site of J&J Car Care, on Post Road East.

Now they’ve pulled up stakes, to a less expensive location a couple of miles away. Their new location is 1590 Post Road East. It’s next to Furniture on Consignment, across from the Westport Inn.

The transition has been almost seamless. Jay, John and their crack crew of Charlie and Chris are servicing cars as excellently as before.

With one exception: They no longer sell gas. All they do is mechanical work.

The money, Jay says, is not in gas for small operators. So they’ll concentrate on getting your car running, and leave the fill-ups to others.

No word on whether someone new will take over the old Getty spot — which, because it’s so close to the Post Road, must be full-serve only — or if that station will join the old Hallowell station on Main Street, and the one across from the old post station (Finalmente) as one more answer to a future Westport trivia question.

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.”