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The Tesoro gas station and Midway Mart in Oak Harbor was reduced to a pile of rubble Monday. It is not immediately known what will become of the property. - Jim Larsen
The Tesoro gas station and Midway Mart in Oak Harbor was reduced to a pile of rubble Monday. It is not immediately known what will become of the property.
— image credit: Jim Larsen

The Midway Mart and Tesoro gas station on Midway Boulevard came to an abrupt end Monday when the facilities were demolished.

The building’s most recent incarnation was in effect for seven years, under the ownership of Jim and Joanne Woessner. Joanne ran the store while Jim operated other businesses, including Westgate Homes.

The little convenience store was reduced to a pile of rubble in a matter of hours, and the two big gasoline tanks were unearthed. Wednesday a worker who declined to identify himself said dirt around the tanks will be trucked out for clean-up.

Jim Woessner said Friday that he and Joanne contracted to operate the Midway Mart store, which was a popular place in the neighborhood. Joanne was known for her friendly smile. There was alway free coffee for customers and the large candy counter attracted a flock of middle school kids every afternoon.

“It was a business decision,” Woessner said of the demolition. “A unilateral decision.” Tesoro officials gave them only 30 days’ notice that the facilities would be demolished, he said. “It was an absolute surprise to us. We had no input.”

When the Woessners took over the building was being used for office space. They put in the store, and through the years upgrades were made. Over the past few months the company spent up to $15,000 putting on a new roof and canopy and painting the building, according to Woessner. “Everything was sound,” he said, but that didn’t stop the decision to destroy the store.

“The market wasn’t large enough for them,” Woessner theorized. He never got a specific explanation for why the decision was made, nor does he know what if anything will replace the building.

Tesoro representative Susan Walker declined to explain the company’s reasoning, and the firm’s spokesman, Charles McGee, did not immediately return a phone call on Friday. There is one other Tesoro station in Oak Harbor, and another located at Deception Pass.

Tesoro took over the Midway operation only eight months ago. For most of the Woessners’ seven years there it was an Exxon gas station and mini-mart. Oldtimers will remember it in other ways. Michael Haun, owner of Precision Tires on Goldie Road, got his start at the Midway location. When he started work there in the ‘70s it sold Enco gas, and the tire store operated under the name of Thurman tires and later Midway tires. “It was actually Kow Korner,” Haun said, recalling the popular old drive-in across the street that featured 29 cent hamburgers.

The Woessners thanked all the customers who have supported them through the years. “We got to meet a lot of great people,” Jim Woessner said. “We made a lot of friends.”

Joanne wasn’t home Friday, but Jim said she’ll find something else to do. “She’s a people person,” he said.

Community Events, April 2014

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