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Rydbom’s Service Center marks 50 years

COALPORT — For a half century, Terry “Rudy” Rydbom has been pumping gas and looking out for his customers, who in turn look out for him.

“I know all of my customers on a first name basis. My customers are good people. If they don’t see me here, they worry where I am at. If not for them, I would not be here this long,” Rydbom, 68, said.

Rydbom’s Service Station on Main Street is marking 50 years in business and is one of the few remaining full-service stations in the area.

“I never thought about changing it to self-service, but we have some customers who pump their own gas. It also keeps you active and healthy instead of just sitting here and looking out the window. At the self-service places, they don’t even know who you are,” he said.

In 1972, Rydbom bought the business with his father, Darrell, and brother, David, who left the business for another job in 1973. Their father left in 1974 after suffering a stroke.

Reaching 50 years in business is not a big deal for Rydbom.

“Everyday you go to work. People make a big deal out of it, I am not. I go to work and that is how it is. I am here seven days a week. It is nice. Who else stays in business for 50 years?” Rydbom said. “I was 19 when I started here. The owner of another gas station said at the time that we wouldn’t make it. We are still here today.”

For years the business was known as Rydbom’s Pennzoil. Today, he sells BEST gasoline from Blair County Oil, Hollidaysburg.

Rydbom offers numerous services at his garage.

“We pump gas, check the oil and put air in the tires. We do oil changes, tire changes, brake jobs, exhaust systems, about all kinds of mechanical repairs. We offer state and emission inspections,” Rydbom said.

He said he has seen a lot of changes in Coalport over the years.

“We have lost lots of businesses. You used to be able to buy anything in this town that you wanted. We are a survivor,” Rydbom said.

He said he has a good customer base.

“I have customers who have dealt with me since I opened. Over the years I’ve had customers from State College, Somerset, Altoona, Tyrone, Bellwood, Bellefonte, Johnstown, Patton and Philipsburg. Some of these are people who moved away and keep coming back,” Rydbom said.

Walt Hoey, one of Rydbom’s longtime customers, said, “I have been a customer of his for at least 35 years. I like Terry; he is opinionated. A lot of people come back to him. He is rough on the outside, but he will help anybody. He helped me a lot when times were tough. He is just a nice guy,” said Hoey, Coalport Borough maintenance supervisor.

Rydbom stepped up to help the community during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We lowered our gas to $1.69 from $2.89, by over a dollar a gallon. I had people come here from Altoona to get gas. It helped us get through it, I probably should not have lowered it that much, but I did. I wanted to try and help out customers who didn’t have a job. Every little bit helped,” Rydbom said.

Rydbom said he has no immediate plans to retire, but eventually hopes to be able to sell the business so he can move to Florida with his daughter, Taylor.

“It has been for sale for four years,” Rydbom said. “It is hard to sell a business.”

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at

814-946-7467.

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