A local’s local looks to retirement after 33 years
by Debbie Hatch
Aug 19, 2010 | 4246 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Joe Randazzo prepares to ride off in his restored 1970 Chevy Impala after 33 years of running his Chevron station at 1575 Garnet Ave. 	Photo by Paul Hansen
Joe Randazzo prepares to ride off in his restored 1970 Chevy Impala after 33 years of running his Chevron station at 1575 Garnet Ave. Photo by Paul Hansen
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Joe Randazzo is nearing his 68th birthday and has been the proprietor of the Chevron Gas Station, located at 1575 Garnet Ave., since 1967.

As a small business owner he has been privy to environmental regulations and economic shifts over the past 33 years.

Randazzo was born in Michigan and moved to San Diego in 1953. For the most part, he has enjoyed being a small business owner.

From the cash-only days to credit card-accepting pumps, he has witnessed many changes.

In the company’s early years it was a garage and filling station serving cars at reasonable rates.

The full-service station shifted into a gas station and food mart because it became difficult for the small business owner to keep up with the mandates and fees associated with the environmental regulations, Randazzo pointed out.

“It’s been so long that I don’t remember the other way,” Randazzo said when trying to think of when he closed the maintenance portion of his shop.

While Randazzo currently sees his business improving, he did fall prey to the lagging economy like many others. He credits the boost in business to either the improving economy or people’s acceptance of the situation that the country is in.

“Competition in the whole industry has changed,” Randazzo said.

He said larger companies own most gas stations in the beach area, which typically assist franchises when new equipment needs to be installed or intensive maintenance performed, which can otherwise put a strain on a single-proprietor shop such as his.

“Every time you need something updated its all on me,” Randazzo said.

He said all of the permits necessary to make changes at a small gas station and the fees associated with those permits are taxing.

“Business licenses used to be $35. Now it’s $700,” Randazzo mentioned. “To have a cash register you have to pay to have a permit.”

Gas stations have been pushed to meet certain standards and it is difficult for the smaller owners to keep up, he said.

Randazzo has been a fan of the San Diego Padres since the team played at Lane Field, which was once located at the end of Broadway Street near the waterfront. He recalled taking the bus downtown to watch a game as a child. He has held season tickets for as long as he can remember.

“Everything goes full circle,” Randazzo said.

He looks forward to retiring and spending more time at the ballpark. He might even take the bus again, he chuckled, but most likely he will drive.

Randazzo is still deciding if he will sell the lot or lease it out.

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