TAUNTON - The city of Taunton has been without a gas station or convenience store for... quite a while now. Nobody in town seems sure how long, but that may be about to change.
"It's very challenging when you want to get up in the morning and you want to put gas in your car and you can't," said Taunton resident Morgan Petersen. "I think this town deserves to have more stores and community things."
Last May, Francis Korman bought the old garage in Taunton from Rick Pesch. There was a lift and air compressor already in the place, but Korman brought in his own tools and equipment. Though there are two old gas pumps out front, they're not functional.
Korman is starting out doing mechanics when he's not working his regular job.
"I'm a mechanic at Lockwood Motors in Marshall," Korman said. "I try to be here between a quarter after six and 10 p.m. and weekends. It's hard to explain because when you're the only person here, when you have to do anything else, you can't open."
Nonetheless, word is getting around through friends and neighbors that Korman is open for business.
Old friend Melissa Gednalske lives in Minneota but takes her car to Korman when it needs work.
"He's a good friend and he gets all my business," Gednalske said. "He's very easy to work with."
Gednalske appreciates what Korman opening in Taunton could do for the little town.
"I lived in Garvin before," Gednalske said. "It's awful to live in a town without a gas station or a convenience store where you can get bread and milk."
James Danielson lives in the Taunton area and was in Korman's garage getting the water pump on his Chevy pickup replaced on Wednesday night. Danielson appreciates the convenience of a reliable mechanic nearby who works on vehicles after work hours.
"Convenient? Oh yeah," Danielson said. "I'm only a couple miles from him."
Korman said he intends to install gas pumps eventually, and a convenience store.
"We've got a food license, but without gas people don't stop," Korman said. "Till we've got gas it's not economical.
"We tried to get gas before harvest, but that didn't happen, so now we're hoping for spring."
Korman said the plan is for him to keep working at Lockwood's and fix cars in the evening and weekends. When they get gas, Korman said his wife Stacy will run the convenience store during the day, and they might hire a mechanic for the day shift.
That's a lot of work for a family with five kids.
Asked why he does it, Korman said, "Extra money I guess. Eventually try to be out on my own. But I've got no plans to quit Lockwood's any time soon. They're very nice people, good to work for, and the incentives are good."
Korman finished installing the water pump and put down the hood of Danielson's pickup.
"Good luck deer hunting," Korman said.
"I'll send you a pic," Danielson replied.
"I'll send you one first," Korman laughed.