Retirement. After more than four decades in the business, Kay’s Service Station’s Bev and Lloyd Kay have certainly seen many advances in the industry.
Lloyd remembers selling fuel for just 35 cents per gallon in the early years of their venture and recalls the train line and station operating just down the road.
Now after 41 years, three months and six days the couple will hand over the keys to the Smithton service station on August 31.
Married in 1965, Bev and Lloyd spent a busy 10 years raising their six children: Darrell, Scott, Carolyn (Greene), Maree (Gale), Jacqueline (Huisman) and Damien.
“Two were born in 1966 but they were not twins!” Lloyd exclaimed before Bev finished laughing: “One in February and one at the end of December.”
Then in 1975 the couple purchased the Nelson Street service station with Lloyd’s brother Cyril.
With 19 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and the fifth on the way, the local servo has very much been a family owned and operated business.
“We have two grandkids working here at the moment,” said Lloyd, who manages the daily operations alongside youngest son Damien.
While Kay’s Service Station has remained a constant throughout the decades, the pair have ventured into other fields, from supplying as a Suzuki dealership and mechanical garage to side businesses K-Trailer Hire and Top Shot Guns and Ammo.
As well as this, Lloyd is a fully qualified chief flying instructor and with his two aircraft has taught locals how to fly in just 20 hours for the past two decades. Something he hopes to spend more time doing after leaving the service station.
Of their retirement plans, Bev and Lloyd say they are just looking forward to settling in at home.
“There are some (grandchildren) who don’t even know where we live because we’re always here!” Bev laughed.
Often working from 7.30am to 10pm Lloyd agreed that it would be an adjustment.
“To not be thinking about work, how things are going, if something is going wrong – it will be good to be free of that,” Lloyd said. “Now we have to get used to living at home again.”
“What I won’t miss is having to go out onto the drive [to pump fuel] in this weather,” Bev laughed.
“But the customers, the ones you’ve gotten to know over the past forty years, there are a lot of regulars that keep coming back . . . I’m definitely going to miss them.”
Thanking their customers for the support they’ve received over the years and friendships formed, Lloyd said the venture would not have succeeded if it weren’t for those faithful patrons.
“It’s the end of an era,” he said. “You really appreciate those customers who keep coming back.”
As for the secret to their success, Lloyd says determination.
“When you work for yourself you have to put in the hours, put in the hard yards but there’s a benefit down the track.
“The first 12 months was probably a bit mean for us, we didn’t take any money we just put it all back into the business.”
But as the couple enters retirement they’re certainly reaping the benefits.
United Petroleum will take over ownership of the local business on Thursday September 1.