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Blackwell’s Gas Station in Hamburg gets new look

Blackwell’s Go Gas Outlet, 5591 Camp Road in Hamburg is sporting a new look these days, with a brand new canopy and logo signs, as well as a new LED electronic price sign.

In November, the old canopy, which spread from the gasoline islands to the station was removed, as well as the gas pumps, leaving a conspicuously empty area at the station.

The construction of a new canopy, supports, gasoline islands and the installation of new lights took about five weeks to complete.

“Customers were concerned we were closing for good, so there were a lot of happy people when we were able to open the pumps again in December,” said Russell Ryan, owner of Blackwell’s Go Gas. “All in all, the project has cost close to $150,000 and it was the longest five weeks I’ve had to go through.”

The bright new canopy now has the newest state-of-the-art fire suppressant system.

The system uses two sensors, which detects the temperature at the pumps areas. If the sensors detect a surge in the temperature, equivalent of a fire, the baking soda depressant is released, smothering the fire.

“You can’t use water, because the gasoline or oils would float on top,” Ryan said. “Actually, if you used water, you’d spread the fire.

“Ellwood Fire Agency put in the system and they tested it. When it goes off, it makes a pretty big mess, but it sure knocks out the fire in a hurry,” he said. The system will be tested every six months, Ryan said.

Along with the canopy there are new lights, which are brighter and more energy efficient.

“I wanted a more energy efficient lighting system. Those lights were from the 1980s and they were very costly to operate,” Ryan said. “Plus, we are open until 10 p.m. on the weekdays and especially during the winter, it is really dark. I wanted to have really bright lighting and these LED lights really do the job.”

Ryan said he knew it was time for an upgrade, since the Blackwell station has been a staple of the Camp and Scranton roads community for decades, it was time to bring it to the next level.

“A lot of people don’t know it, but my father-in-law, Clarence Blackwell, came to this location back in 1980-81 and opened up the Mobil station here,” Ryan said.

According to Ryan, Blackwell had owned another Mobil station in Buffalo for about 30 years, which his son took over, before he came to Hamburg.

Ryan, who married Peggi Blackwell in 1983, came to work at the Hamburg location with his father-in-law in 1985 as a mechanic.

“I started running the business as the manager in 1991,” Ryan said. “In 2005 I took over as owner.”

It was then that he made the decision to leave the Mobil family.

“I decided to go with the ‘unbranded’ gasoline, because we could offer our customers the same quality of gas for less money,” Ryan said.

According to Ryan, the gas he sells, as well as many of the “name brand” gas others sell, all come from the same Buffalo plant.

“There really is no difference in the quality, just the name put on it,” he said.

Blackwell’s is not just about gasoline, the station employes eight people, including two mechanics (Ryan and Mike Nyitrai).

They offer New York State car inspections, brake work, oil changes, tires and general tune ups. They do not do transmission work, engine overhauls or alignments.

Inside the store area, one can purchase fresh brewed coffee, soft drinks, candy, snacks and lottery tickets.

“We try to offer our customers a good selection of items,” Ryan said.

The garage bays are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The gas pumps, which are self-serve, and the store are open Monday through Saturday, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information call Blackwell’s at 649-6195.

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