Niagara Gazette — Over the past 50 years not a whole not has changed on the intersection of Pine and Portage, at least not for Joe Bruno, who opened the Mobil gas station there in 1962.
Bruno, a Niagara Falls native who graduated from the old Niagara Falls High School across the street from his business in 1955, says that this is something of a family business.
“My father owned the gas station on Cedar and Portage, and later on the one on Hyde Park and Nevada,” Bruno said. “My father had gas stations since 1941. It’s something I sort of grew up with, when I was younger I liked working on cars, I did mechanical work there.”
“That gas station is like his second home,” said longtime friend and customer, Joanne Johnson, of Bruno. “He seems so happy there. It’s his place he built it and his family runs it. They provide great service and I tell everyone to go there, some even go out of their way to go there.”
Continuing with the family tradition, two of Bruno’s children, Scott and Angela have started running the business. Both have been involved in the business since they were young.
“When I was 12 I started out there cleaning bathrooms,” Scott said, “When I was 16 I started working on cars full-time.”
Scott said that he’s still working on cars now and Angela takes care of the managerial aspects.
While the sights haven’t changed much for Bruno over the past 50 years, the industry itself has changed quite a bit. For example, Bruno says, everything has evolved toward more of a self-service system, which was illegal when he first opened the station. Another thing that’s changed that everyone can relate to was the price of gas.
“You used to be able to fill your tank for three or four dollars,” Bruno said. “Some of the old cars had 22 to 25 gallon tanks. Now you have a lot of more compact cars, the tanks are maybe 10 or 12 gallons. So ten gallons today, you’re talking $40, back in those days ten gallons cost $3.40.