Evans Head servo re-opens
FOR more than six months, residents of Evans Head have been forced to travel to Broadwater or Woodburn to fill their cars with petrol.
But that all came to an end this month when Ballina man Brett Head re-opened the town’s service station.
The servo closed in September last year when, after 35 years, owners Doug and Di Behn decided they’d had enough.
Mr Behn said he had never made money from selling petrol and felt like a ‘pawn for the oil companies’. There had been much speculation in Evans Head that the servo would never be replaced.
However, Mr Head started negotiations with the Behns last October and has now re-opened it under the Matilda brand.
The business is being run by Mr Head with his son, Liam Johnstone, as the manager.
“I’ve worked with Matilda on and off for 20 years, doing the maintenance of the pumps,” Mr Head said.
“We just decided that it was about time that we took on one ourselves.
“And we also know that it’s been really difficult for residents because they had to travel to get their petrol.
“We’re now working in partnership with IGA to offer fuel discounts.
“We want to offer competitive prices – we’re not going to put the price really high just because we’re the only service station in town.”
But the Service Station Association last week told media that smaller petrol stations were being ‘killed off’.
The association’s Ron Bowden said there were 8000 service stations in NSW 10 years ago, but there were now only about 6500 – a 2 per cent decline.
He said ‘mum and dad type’ businesses would always struggle to survive.
However, Mr Head was confident business would boom at the new Matilda Evans Head service station.
“We’re here to support the local community,” he said.
“We’ve only been open since the start of April, but we’re already getting about 160 customers a day.
“It’s great, especially since a lot of people don’t even realise that we’ve re-opened.
“Once we get the word out to the locals, we think it will go really well.
“We’ve also got plans for refurbishments of the service station, but our first priority has just been getting petrol back in the pumps.”