Garage stops petrol sales after 80 years

By David GreenA RURAL garage is to stop selling petrol after 80 years because the business can no longer sustain the losses.Petrol has been sold at the Grayston Brother garage in Laxfield since the 1920s, but the present proprietor, Neil Grayston, said providing petrol had been a loss-making exercise for some years because of price-cutting by the supermarket and national service station chains.

By David Green

A RURAL garage is to stop selling petrol after 80 years because the business can no longer sustain the losses.

Petrol has been sold at the Grayston Brother garage in Laxfield since the 1920s, but the present proprietor, Neil Grayston, said providing petrol had been a loss-making exercise for some years because of price-cutting by the supermarket and national service station chains.

However, it had been continued as a service to customers and as a way of bringing people into the garage for vehicle and machinery repairs and to buy items in the ironmongery shop.


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But Mr Grayston said: "I looked at the figures again recently and reluctantly decided we could not continue to sell petrol. We are now losing too much money."

Other factors including the high cost of insurance premiums because of the presence of fuel tanks on the site and the time taken to carry out regulatory safety checks had influenced his decision.

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The volume of petrol sold at rural garages has declined over the years as prices have been undercut by supermarkets and national chains who buy fuel at a discounted cost because of high volumes.

Prices at Graystons and other small outlets are several pence per litre above prices demanded by national chains.

Mr Grayston said motorists increasingly used the small rural garages only for emergency supplies of fuel, buying enough just to get them to a major outlet where they filled up their tanks.

"We only make a very small amount on each purchase, but if people pay by cheque then this is often reduced to nothing and you also have to take into account the time taken to serve people," he added.

Graystons opened a workshop at Laxfield in 1910, initially just to repair agricultural machinery. But the onset of the motoring era saw the firm repairing cars and, in more recent decades, lawnmowers, chain saws and strimmers.

Although the garage will stop serving petrol, the workshop and retail shop will remain open after the last drop of fuel has been served.

david.green@eadt.co.uk

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