Crystal Spencer

Kingscliff's BP servo no more

KINGSCLIFF’S oldest petrol station ceased to function yesterday after proprietor Jason Lowe was unable to meet his supplier’s demands.

Bowsers and signage at the Lowe’s Automotive Centre BP petrol station, on the corner of Marine Parade and Seaview Street, have been removed.

Mr Lowe said the future of the rest of his business, which includes mechanical repairs and servicing, bait, tackle and ice sales, were in jeopardy with the 50-year-old “Kingy icon” gone.

“I don’t know if I will survive without it. My shop sales will drop quite dramatically now since I won’t be selling petrol,” he said.

“Whenever someone came in to buy petrol, the majority of the time they would pick up something else like cigarettes or a drink.

“I can’t see many people coming in for that stuff now.”

Mr Lowe already had plans to turn the now-empty driveway into a car wash and detailing business.

“I’ve got to use that area for something,” he said.

Mr Lowe said he was unable to afford the petrol from supplier Reliance Petroleum, BP’s largest distributor due to a change in payment schedules.

He said he was required to pay $20,000 up front for his supplies instead of over a 30-day account as he was doing 12 months ago.

“It’s just too much to pay up front. It was much easier for a small business like mine to pay it over a month,” he said.

Mr Lowe said the problems began a year ago when he paid back a $70,000 debt.

“I’ve never had any troubles paying my bills with them. But it has never been the same since then,” he said.

Mr Lowe said he wanted to make an apology to his customers.

“I just want to apologise to the people who have been loyal to us for so long that we can no longer supply petrol to,” he said.

“There are still people aged in their 80s today who were using the petrol station back in the ’50s. It’s just a shame.”

Mr Lowe said his father, Rod Lowe, took over ownership of the station and automotive centre about 20 years ago.

Jason Lowe inherited the business about eight years ago.

BP became the site’s principal supplier 10 years ago.

A spokeswoman for Reliance Petroleum said she could not comment on the matter because it was a “personal issue”.

She did however confirm 30-day accounts do exist, but if proprietors have trouble paying, it can revert to cash delivery.

“It relates back to adhering to the company policy,” the spokeswoman said.

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