Heart of Louisiana: Full-service gas stations thriving in Hammond

Updated: Jul. 5, 2020 at 9:34 PM CDT
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HAMMOND, LA (WVUE) - When was the last time you experienced a full-service gas station? FOX 8's Dave McNamara wanted to find out if they still exist in our state. He struck the mother lode in the city of Hammond with not one, but three full-service gas stations. It feels like stepping back in time in tonight's Heart of Louisiana.

When this Chevy muscle car first came out, self-service gasoline was rare. When you pulled into a gas station, all you had to do was roll down your window and tell the attendant to fill it up. It was called "full service" - a thing of the past for most of us unless you drive through downtown Hammond.

At Quinn's Service, Davey Quinn does it all.

"Check the oil, check the whole hood, check the tire pressure, we'll even check your spare tire if you want," Quinn said. "You'd be surprised how many people don't check their spare tires."

And Quinns isn't the only full-service station. In the next block, you'll find Johnny's Conoco.

"It scares people sometimes," said Darrell Kropog. "The kids starting at the university don't know what full-service is. They're looking for the card reader on the pump and they don't know what I'm doing out there."

And five blocks away on East Thomas, you get the same attention at Dave's Full Service Automotive.

"We're pretty much a thing of the past throughout the country, but we still keep doing it and it's made a good living for my family, my dad and mom," said Dave Spano.

All three of the full-service gas stations in Hammond have been owned and operated by the same families for the last 40 to more than 50 years. Somehow, they've been able to survive in a self-service world. You pay more for gas, at least an extra dollar per gallon, but the gasoline is all ethanol-free. And regular customers just like the service.

"It means the world to be able to drive up here and to know you're going to be taken care of, and like I say, we almost feel like we're family," said Kathy Kent.

You'll know if your engine is low on oil. And proper tire pressure will save you on mileage and helps tires last longer. And full-service gas also comes with a full service garage.

"We could do extensive mechanic work," Spano said. "We do oil changes, breaks, belts, hoses, anything from minor to major."

It's a throwback to the days when you knew there was someone looking after the well-being of your car.

"It's getting harder and harder to find full-service gas stations and for particularly a woman by herself, I like the full-service," said Tracy Farris.

"You can tell the cars that get no attention," Kropog said. "They only get attention when something is broken. And we try to eliminate all the problems right here."

And these are three old-time businesses that have found a way to survive by finding people who are still willing to pay for good service.

All three of the Hammond full-service gas stations are businesses that were passed down from father to son.

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