End of the Line for Straight Line Automotive

Cape Charles’ only service station closed on Tuesday. The property is now available for lease. (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

April 19, 2013

There was absolutely no warning — and as recently as Monday it was business as usual at Cape Charles’ only gas station and full-time auto repair shop.

But when owner Mark Richardson put out the CLOSED sign by the gas pumps that evening, he called it quits. After several years operating as Straight Line Automotive, the business is closed for good.

Cape Charles regulars were stunned, since from all appearances the business was doing well. There was always activity in the repair bays, and gas sales were steady.

The business had the distinction of being one of the few gas stations south of New Jersey to provide friendly pump attendants at no extra charge. And even with the full service, Straight Line gasoline usually was priced a couple of cents below stations on the highway.

Straight Line also sold hard-to-obtain ethanol-free gasoline, preferred for outboard motors and small engines.

It was apparent to any regular customer that Richardson sweated the details, and his closing was no exception. Call the station number (757-331-1303) and you’ll hear a detailed message of concern from Mark for his customers.

“I’m afraid we’re ceasing operations,” he begins, and then provides names and phone numbers for a tire shop and other auto repair shops.

Richardson told the Wave that he wanted folks to know that nobody had forced him to close. “I was not actually shut down,” he emphasized. “I’m just not a business person — it was nobody else’s fault.” [Read more…]