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For 50 years, Jost Service has lived up to its name

Staff writer

It wasn’t unusual back in years past for law enforcement officers to call owners of Hillsboro’s Jost Service Station after hours asking them to open to serve someone who ran out of fuel.

“What irritated me is it would be some kid who was goofing off and wasting gas all evening,” Lowell Jost said, chuckling while he talked about it.

He and his wife, Eleanor, don’t field calls like that from police, deputies, or highway patrol troopers anymore.

The world has changed.

But one thing hasn’t —full service.

Jost gasses up people’s vehicles.

He checks tires and oil.

He cleans windshields.

What he sells is peace of mind.

Well, that and convenience for drivers who don’t want to get out of their vehicles for one reason or another. Maybe that’s a flu day, or a bad arthritis day, or a below-freezing day.

Jost’s family has pumped gas at D and Ash Sts. since 1946.

“This is all I’ve known,” Jost said. “I’ve been doing this give or take 50 years.”

If you ask him why, he’ll say “a lot of it is being able to be of service to the public. It’s been in the family all this time. We’ve had generations of families that have been customers.”

Jost’s father, John Jost, ran the station until 1976. Lowell and his brother then took over. They were partners for 24 years. In 1999, Lowell and Eleanor bought out Jerry Jost’s half.

The current building went up in 1955, and the station has sold many brands of gas over the years.

Jost thinks it first sold Sovereign Service gas. Later came Skelly, Getty, Apco, Total, and others.

“We were Skelly the longest, I guess,” Jost said. “The whole gasoline business has changed so much over the last 50 years.”

He remembers the oil embargo in 1973 and ’74.

“We were only allotted so much fuel,” he said. “We had a bulk truck that we could take out to farmers. I felt sorry for commuters because I’d have to say ‘OK, I’m sorry, but you can only get five gallons.’ ”

Jost thinks gas was 23.9 cents a gallon when his family started business.

At the beginning of this week, he was selling gas at $2.91 per gallon.

He tries to stay within a couple of cents of his self-service competitors.

The magic of pricing gas is “hedging.” Convenience store managers take classes about it.

“The market can change so quickly where the margins get pretty close,” Jost said.

The station doesn’t get near the traffic of an Ampride, Casey’s, or QuikTrip station.

That’s kind of the point.

People buy gas at Jost because they know one thing for sure, Eleanor said: “Lowell will take care of you.”

Last modified Dec. 14, 2022

 

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