Bowers marks 40 years in business 0
SEAN CHASE Petawawa mayor Bob Sweet congratulates Allan Bowers as he marks the 40th anniversary of Bowers' Grocery and Esso. Hosting the community with a barbecue last Saturday was Allan, his granddaughter Emily Levean, wife, Marie, and daughter Lisa Levean.
PETAWAWA - Back in 1972, Richard Nixon was president, folks drove the Volkswagen Beetle and wore the newest fade - the digital watch. Men were still going to the Moon and Don Mclean's "American Pie" was the top song.
That year, Allan and Marie Bowers purchased an Esso gas station from Ken Risto. In those intervening four decades much has changed along Petawawa Boulevard but Bowers' Grocery and Esso are still there.
"I wanted to own my own business when I was just a young fella," said Mr. Bowers, "But here I am 40 years later. Time kind of slips by."
The business, itself, is 70 years old having been established originally by Reg Carmody. To celebrate the 40th anniversary milestone, the Bowers family threw a barbecue for the community last Saturday. Mayor Bob Sweet was one of the many on hand to congratulate this veteran business.
"Allan has stood the test of time and he's been a great contributor to the economy," said Mayor Sweet, a former businessman himself, noting that he and Mr. Bowers opened up their respective shops within three months of each other. "He's looked after a lot of people and pumped a lot of gas in all types of weather. It's a wonderful achievement."
When he first started, there was a string of gas stations along what use to be Highway 17, or the Trans-Canada Highway, including distributors from Fina, British Petroleum, Texaco, Gulf and Shell. Now Bowers' is the only gas station between the limits of the town's urban centre, the former Village of Petawawa, and the City of Pembroke. The station still has its original cash register and an antique Coca-Cola cooler that continues to work.
Over the years, the Bowers have built up a cross-generational cliental and they are grateful for the business the community has given them.
"It's been good to us. There's a lot of people here and they've been good to us," said Mr. Bowers who admits they don't make a lot of money from selling gasoline despite the high oil prices. "We were told not to expect to make a lot of money from gasoline. A few stations have closed and continue to close and others have survived."
Sean Chase is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist