Story and photo by Patricia Beech –
When Carey W. Reed purchased the service station at the intersection of state highways 41 and 73 in Locust Grove, he may not have imagined the business would remain in his family for over seven decades to become one of Adams County’s longest lasting business enterprises.
It was the early 1940’s and World War II was raging in Europe and the South Pacific when Reed decided to give up farming to pursue another business interest.
Like most young American men at that time, the owner of the service station had enlisted in the military and was preparing to ship out to the battlefields of Europe. He wanted to sell, and Reed was eager to buy.
Throughout the war years Reed operated the station, contending with shortages and rationings put in place after German U-Boats began targeting allied shipping off the U.S. east coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. Oil tankers were their favorite targets.
People were encouraged to use public transportation and their own two feet. Commuters were told to “Carry more to win the war,” and to share rides or form car clubs. Employers experimented with staggered shifts to reduce traffic – and therefore, gasoline use. Pleasure driving was banned and the “Vacation at Home” was promoted, not just to save gas and rubber, but due to the strain on the nation’s train system by military transport.
Despite the challenges, Reed held onto the business and when his son, Harry, returned home at the conclusion of the war, he and his wife Mary Helen purchased the station, which they ran until 1976 when heir son, Tom, took over, becoming the third generation to operate the business.
“It means a great deal to me to have carried on my grandfather’s business,” says Tom. “It’s become a rare thing for a business to stay in one family for so many years.”
In addition to running the station and serving as a Franklin Township Trustee, Tom also worked as a teacher and administrator at the former Franklin Elementary School in Locust Grove, and as a math teacher at Peebles Elementary.
“I love working with kids,” he says. “There’s nothing more satisfying than helping young people build a solid foundation for their future.”
Reed’s love of education and his business skills eventually led him to run for a seat on the Adams County/Ohio Valley school board, a position for which he is currently seeking re-election.
“The educational success of our youth is of paramount importance to the prosperity of all our futures,” he says. “Just as my grandfather laid a strong foundation for our family, I want to do the same thing for the kids who attend school in our district.”