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Big Oak Citgo – Past and future

We recently celebrated 25 years as the owners of Big Oak Citgo.

It seems only yesterday my young family and I came over from New Jersey to look at an abandoned gas station on the corner of Big Oak and Makefield roads in Lower Makefield Township.

It was in rough shape, but the bones were good, and the owner was ready to sell.

Of course, the sale price was well beyond our means, but we found a way, and became the proud owners of an abandoned and contaminated old gas station.

Sounds crazy, but we were ecstatic! The early years were a blur of activity.

From enticing a supplier to take a chance on us and provide a cleanup and equipment loan, to gutting and renovating the shop, finding great employees, and promoting the shop.

It was nonstop work, but we were business owners, and we loved it!

In no time at all it seems, we were up and running, with great employees, and most important, great customers!

We are a familyowned and operated business first, and a gas station second.

If you’ve ever been involved in a family business, you’ll understand.

I can remember having conversations with my boys about business decisions at a very early age, and they worked the gas pumps until college called them away.

Our oldest, Mike, went to Penn State University and graduated with a degree in business.

He’s been involved with Big Oak Citgo since he was a child, and it’s only natural that he and his family will soon become the new owners.

One of the things we have truly enjoyed over the years is being involved in the community.

From our river cleanup day, to putting Christmas gifts together for mechanically disinclined customers, it’s been the best part of being in business.

A few years back, Mike went to school to learn the proper way to install children’s car seats.

In a weeklong program, he learned the ins and outs of children’s car seats, not for profit, but to ensure that no child is hurt because of an incorrectly installed car seat.

We provide that service at no charge to anyone, customer or no, because some things are more important than money.

With Mike and his family at the helm, the future looks bright for Big Oak Citgo.

Mike was born to the business, and Annie, his wife, is a breath of fresh air at the front counter.

Her empathy and kindness have made her a favorite with customers and employees alike.

On behalf of my family, I would like to thank you all, our customers, for providing us an opportunity to thrive in this beautiful township. 

PHOTO CAP: Pictured in foreground, Mike, Annie, Jane, and Tom Cooper; background: Pete Kraemer, Ethan Bray.