Shell station at airport opens

Station attendants Buffy Carroll and Darko Milev. —Rich Saltzberg

Lou Paciello’s long-awaited Shell station is finally up and running in the Airport Business Park. Islanders looking for a car wash will need to wait a little longer, according to Buffy Carroll, a station clerk who also worked at the previous gas station on the site. The car vacuums are up and running, however. Carroll said business has been pretty continuous since the station opened on Thursday.

“It’s been steady,” she said of gas sales. “Everyone’s waiting for the car wash, of course.”

The previous Mobil station on the site was home to the Vineyard’s only automatic car wash. In the 15 months since it was shuttered and subsequently demolished, Islanders have been left to their own sponges and buckets of soapy water.

Paciello told The Times he expects the car wash to open within two weeks, but he’s optimistic it may be ready in a week’s time.

The shop inside the station store is a bit spartan currently, but not for long, Paciello said: “As we get product in, it will start to fill up a lot more.”

Zoning issues have limited the amount of floor space originally slated for the store. A wall now divides the store into retail space and storage, and much of the storage space was intended to be retail space. Absent a bylaw change via town meeting, Paciello isn’t sure if he’ll ever regain that retail floorspace.

The station features a spacious lot, which Paciello designed to accommodate trucks.

“There’s a lot of commercial traffic,” he said. Landscapers in dump trucks that tow trailers are common, and big box trucks from the business park are two types of vehicles he anticipated when designing maneuvering space at the station. The same is true for diesel at the pumps — each “fueling point,” as he put it, sports a diesel nozzle, eight in total.

Friday morning, The Times found Brion McGroarty, general manager of MV Wine and Spirits, fueling up at a Shell station pump.

“I’m really happy it’s open, and I’m glad for the community,” he said.