Service Stations

Here are a few pictures from Sohio service stations. I would like to add more if anyone has some to contribute.

Cleveland Mayfield and Noble 1931

Cleveland E. 22nd and Brownwell Street 1939

Sohio News Sept., 1969

CINCINNATI'S pert driveway saleswomen include (from left) Gwenn Riechers, Diana Horton, Deborah Smith, Remell Sanders and Karen Findley - Not shown are Rose Ertel and Karen Roberts

Here are a few messages relating to Sohio service stations, which we have received from visitors to the site. I would like to add more if anyone has some to contribute.

From David (20 May, 2001):

I was not an engineer or anything like that, I was an attendant at Earl Hollands in St. Clairsville, Ohio. It is great to find a website dedicated to the memory of Sohio. Not only was it a great place to work, it was one of the most happening places in town. It was probably like that in every small town in Ohio.

From Bill Kopper (19 July, 2004):

I was raised in the household of a very "loyal" Sohio Dealer out in Garfield Heights, OH.  My Dad started out as a Gulf 
dealer in 1931 and after years of deliberation, decided to become a Sohio dealer in 1946.  I can still recall hurrying 
home from school on a fall day to hear the announcement over one of Cleveland's local radio stations.  Dad was an 
independent dealer and made the change in 1946 because he had not received a Christmas card from his Gulf salesman 
the previous year,  according to the late George Fedor, who was the Sohio salesman that persuaded my Dad to change 
supplier relationships.  The original station was at the NW corner of Turney and Granger Roads in Garfield Heights.
On February 25, 1950 we opened our brand new station at the NE corner of Granger Road (Ohio RT 17) and East 98th 
Street (today known as Transportation Blvd. 
The station was built at a cost of $3500/land; $14,000/bldg.  As a motor fuel dealer, Sohio provided signs, pumps, and 
hand-cranked oil hi-boys. We provided the rest. We began business selling Sohio Regular and Supreme out of a pair of 
4,000 gal. tanks.  Sometime in 1950 or 1951, Sohio X-70 was introduced as the regular brand.Goods bought for resale 
to start the business cost about $3180, which didn't include the cost of the initial gasoline purchase.  
On opening day, Saturday, February 25, 1950, we sold $234 worth of gas, $14 worth of oil, and $10 worth of accessories.  
We even showed 50 cents of labor! I believe regular gas was selling at 24.9 cents a gallon which included 11 cents of 
tax (7 cents Fed and 4 cents State; or the other way around?)  
Our whole family was excited about this new venture and as I was nearing my twelfth birthday, I began my working career 
that day: February 25, 1950 and was paid at the rate of  25 cents an hour.  
One problem, I was too small to reach the center of the windshields and couldn't provide Sohio's 7-Step Service.  This 
resulted in my being "reassigned" to work at Hilltop Hardware Company (owned by my Uncles Ed and Fred Kopper) 
until I grew up a bit!
In summary, the above information will give the reader some insight on how major oil companies years ago provided business 
opportunities for individuals.  In addition to providing my Dad with the opportunity to own his own business, we also 
provided many full-and part-time jobs to local men and boys. 
From 1941 until his retirement in 1967, my Dad always had at least four or five people working for him.
He must have provided "basic" training in core values to hundreds of young high school boys over the years.  A far cry from 
today when teenagers hang around shopping malls spending their parent's money and chatting on cell phones!
Later on I will comment on the mutual loyalty that existed between Sohio and its dealers.  Together, they built the company 
from its Depression woes.  
Sadly, over the years the dealers and company employees all saw significant changes take place.  Reliance on dealers began 
to wane, employees were treated with less respect, Proudfoot came to town (twice) and then, the EPA regulations made it 
impossible for anyone but a major oil company to operate a retail station. The cost of tanks alone, stop one dead in his 
tracks. Besides, which of today's oil companies wants to forgo selling gasoline!  
There are days when I wish that I had a local service station down at the corner where I could go to get a headlight bulb, a 
fan belt, or an oil change.  
In our rush to specialize, we now must go to a franchised outlet (operated by young people) who gleefully charge $60 +/- 
for labor and don't know a Crescent wrench from a pair of pliers.  
I laugh whenever I see oil/filter changes ON SALE at $19.95!   Especially, when changing today's oil filter is as easy as 
changing a light bulb. No need to worry about seating a gasket!


From Ruby Miller (14 Sept., 2006):

I have attached two(2) pictures.  
Our father, Raymond J Manlet, worked for The Standard Oil Company from 1945 until he retired at the age of
62 in 1966.  He worked at the Sohio gas station on Lee Rd when he started working for Standard Oil and then
worked at the station at Fairmount Blvd and S.Taylor for the last few years before he retired.  
My sister (Olive Manlet - now Lewis) and I both worked for Sohio.  I started in 1973 and took the buy-out in
1993.  My sister started in 1977 and left to move to Las Vegas in 1979.  We both worked in the
Midland/Guildhall complex.  I started out in the steno-pool working for Helen Szolnoky and Olive
started out in Keypunch working for Norma Ferris.  
The first picture shows our dad checking out a spare tire for a customer, as the ad explains. The second
picture shows our dad (on the left) standing outside the station with a co-worker.  I believe both pictures
were taken at the Lee Rd station.
Thank you and hope you can add these to the website. Would appreciate you letting me know either way.  
Thank you for putting this web-site together.  All of us that worked for SOHIO have such wonderful memories
and have kept friendships with some fellow employees for over 30 years.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Ruby Miller

Picture 1

Picture 2

Document by DanDLyin . Last Revised 14 Sept., 2006