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It’s not uncommon for people who have never been to the Crestline Shell to be a little confused when they first pull up to a gas pump. Two of the pumps are normal, but the one standing by itself is something almost unheard of these days: it’s full service.

“It’s always been a full-service station,” owner Kelly Jackson said. If someone brings their car around to that particular pump, attendants will wash the windows, check under the hood, make sure all tires are filled with air and fill up the tank. It’s a little more expensive than pumping your own gas at another pump, but Jackson said a lot of families like to use it before taking their cars on longer trips.

Jackson became the owner of the business about two years ago, after the King family — who had owned the Shell since 1977 — decided to sell it. Both Jackson and 28-year employee Danny Barker spoke highly of Jack King, the first of his family to be an owner.

King is a former military service member, and Barker said he ran his business as such. If something wasn’t run properly or up to his standard, “you hit the road,” Barker said. But Barker also said it’s that very standard that has helped the business stick around for so long.

Jack King’s sons, Jack Jr. and David, later took over the business. It was during that time that McPherson Oil Company, who owned the property on which the station sits, wanted to sell the land for restaurant development, Jackson said. It was common knowledge that the Crestline Shell might disappear, but it wasn’t commonly accepted.

Sylvia and David Larsen have been living in Mountain Brook for 42 years on Montevallo Road, which, conveniently, places them close to the Crestline Shell. Sylvia Larsen has been a customer for nearly as long and has had nothing but positive experiences with the station.

She spoke of a time when her husband, David, had the unfortunate experience of finding himself in downtown Birmingham on the sixth floor of a parking garage, stranded with a dead battery. In addition to driving downtown to meet her husband, Sylvia Larsen said, employees brought a new battery and replaced it for him.

Sylvia Larsen said there’s really only been one change at the station while she’s been a customer: “It’s gotten busier.” That, and Jackson has added an ice machine to fill up big coolers of water for runners, walkers and cyclists each morning who make their way through Crestline. The business still keeps family accounts for charges, and Jackson still likes to operate using pen and paper.

Looking at the Crestline Shell, though, it has oddly similar features to that of other full-service stations that some people may be familiar with. Even Jackson said the structure itself is identical to The Filling Station, a service station turned restaurant in Crestwood.

Jackson said they’re going to replace the canopy and extend it out past the two pumps closest to the road to help protect customers from inclement weather. Some renovations will be done to the interior, too, but his main focus is the gas pumps. He plans to have the slower, 20-year-old pumps upgraded.

In keeping with custom, though, everything will remain as full service just as it was more than 40 years ago. Jackson attributes their staying power to the business the King’s built, maintaining good customer service and the fact that the Crestline Shell is a tradition in the surrounding community.