Pelham gas station owner wants to take a stand - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Pelham gas station owner wants to take a stand

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

September 16, 2008

PELHAM, GA (WALB) - A Mitchell County gas station owner is fed up with being the little man. He's completely out of fuel and unsure when he'll get another shipment.

That's because he's an independent gas station operator and he says suppliers are giving bigger stations priority when it comes to restocking fuel. The businessman is taking a stand and he hopes others will join him.

Bill Frazier's frustration began building last week. "Well we've been out of gas since last Thursday night," said Frazier.

That's when his pumps were covered with plastic and paper bags.  The signs read "Temporarily Out Of Gas".  Frazier questions the cause. "They're trying to blame it on Hurricane Ike. Ike didn't have anything to do with this. That was just an excuse. That pipeline is still flowing," said Frazier.

Because Frazier's pumps aren't flowing, business has slowed down at his convenience store in Pelham. Profits are 95-percent off from normal sales. "It's killed my business," said Frazier. Frazier isn't sure when life will come back to his fuel pumps outside, the source that brings customers inside his store.

"They just keep telling us since last Friday there's no gas available for us," said Frazier. By us, he means independent or non-brand name gas stations. He says brand-name stations in town are getting the deliveries and priority from distributors. "Which ain't right," said Frazier, "the same people will sell me gas when times are good."

So he's using the bad times to fight back. "Enough is enough for me I tell you," said Frazier.

That fed up message now greets people courtesy of a big sign outside the store. "I know I'm just the little guy and I can't fight the major oil companies but I'm sure going to make a statement," said Frazier.

If the sign isn't enough, Frazier is also handing out flyers with the same message. "Everybody comes in and says this ain't right and something needs to be done so I'm just trying to tell them to do something, call their Congressman," said Frazier.

He also plans to make another stand. "I'm not going to buy anymore gas until the price goes down reasonably and then when I do, I'm going to sell it at-cost to my customers," said Frazier.

He'll take that stance even if that means losing a few dollars. "I'm 67 years old. This ain't my first rodeo," said Frazier. But it's the last straw for a frustrated, independent gas station owner.

Frazier says he hasn't seen the gas situation so bad since the 1970's. There's a small chance he could get a shipment Wednesday but he says the price would be too much for his customers to pay and too high for him to compete with bigger stations.

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