Scott Smith wanted to take the high road.
"I don't want to do a lot of negativity. Let's keep it positive" he told Boise Weekly, supervising the final clean-up at his service station, Smith's Chevron, which three generations of Smiths have run at Hill Road and Harrison Boulevard in Boise's North End.
But something was up. Smith hinted that there had been disagreements with the property owners for quite some time and push was coming to shove.
"There have been certain legalities..." he said, then attempted a different explanation.
"The owners... They made it impossible..." he said not finishing those thoughts either. "Off the record, I could tell you lots of stuff. It was difficult in dealing with..."
BW learned that the property had been owned for some time by the Hawkins family, of Vale, Ore., but has since been taken over by an absentee owner who lives in Washington (and who did not return multiple calls from BW).
The property has been for sale for some time, said Smith, but in the meantime, he was clearing out the remains of one of Boise's last full-service gas stations.
"I had my last customer Sept. 24. I performed an emission test and pumped the gas until it went dry and told her, 'That's it. I don't have any more,'" he said, adding that three 10,000-gallon subterranean tanks were now bone dry.
Adam Goff, one of Smith's last employees, said there were plenty of customers who still want their gas pumped.
"I worked on-and-off for seven years [at Smith's Chevron] and have been coming here all my life," said Goff. "I've been making a list of customers who have been coming here since the 1960s. I'm going to ride my motorcycle over to their house, fill their tanks with gas and service them, if needed. I'm going to put a hoist lift at my friend's house to do oil changes. Right now, I've got a list of about 60 customers."
Meanwhile, the neon "Open" sign has gone dark at Smith's Chevron for the first time in more than 50 years.
"I've been here every day since I was a kid," said Smith. "My grandfather opened in 1960. My dad took over in 1980 and I've had it for the last nine years. It was a family-owned business that has been unfortunately shut down because..."
Smith looked away for a moment before repeating, "Let's keep this positive, OK?"