Self Service Gas Stations Turn 50 Years Old
What we know today as the ‘convenience store’, a store where you pump your own gas and get snacks, turns 50 years old. It all started in 1964 by John Roscoe in Westminster, Colorado. Roscoe sold milk, bread and soda in his chain of Big Top stores but gas was sold at full service gas stations.
On the advice of his banker to attract new customers he advertised self-service fueling. Roscoe advertised on billboards, flyers and his stores grocery bags. In 1964, fire codes prohibited self-fueling because of fire code safety concerns and the potential fire hazard and Roscoe had his own concerns. He does admit, once he got the business of self-serve pumping going, it took 30 seconds to realize he was on to something big.
In 1964 oil companies owned most of the gas station but today most are owned by independent business people. It took about 10 year for the idea of combining self-serve gas and groceries to catch on but today do we know any other way?