AMHERST – A lawsuit alleging breach of contract and impending foreclosure of its downtown building that could force the closure of one of Amherst’s oldest businesses is prompting the creation of an online fundraiser aimed at to save Ren’s Sales and Service.
Customers, family and friends of Reynold Gladu, who has operated Ren’s since 1973, launched the GoFundMe appeal this week which aims to raise $125,000 to cover legal costs and prevent the possible takeover of the 161 North Pleasant St site. ., if payment for the mortgage is not made by mid-September.
Less than a day after its launch, the fundraiser, at https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-rens-motors-in-amherst-masswas already nearly a quarter of the way to his goal.
Hosted by residents Nancy deProsse, Bob DiCarlo and Lisa Musante, and Gladu’s daughter, Jennifer Gladu-Howe, the appeal says the goal is to “save Ren’s Motors – a small family business whose future is in its hands from a large wholesale gas supplier.
Specifically, the need for the cash stems from a decision by Reynold Gladu and his son Jeff Gladu to end ties with Mobil and its supplier, Global Corp., due to high gas prices in late spring. At the time, the Gladus turned to a relationship with Nouria which gives Ren’s the ability to sell Gulf-branded gas at a lower cost.
But the new arrangement only came after he broke the contract through an escape clause obtained by not selling petrol for more than a week, drying out the tanks and then posting handwritten signs card saying ‘out of gas’ for a while over the summer. . Ren’s survived thanks to its service station, where oil changes and car repairs continued.
Ren’s is now facing legal action, with Global claiming there has been a breach of contract and, if he is unable to settle, he could see the property seized and auctioned off. Global has Ren’s property as collateral for a loan he made for gas pump upgrades in 2007.
Gladu-Howe reinforced her appeal in a social media post that noted that her father, 81, continues to work seven days a week, even after nearly half a century.
“My dad is a small business owner who lived for his job, his customers, and his hometown,” Gladu-Howe wrote. “He is now being penalized for trying to do the right thing by a big company that puts profits above people and despite his integrity, dedication and the lasting relationships he has built in Amherst because of who he is as a person, he risks losing everything. .”
Those who donated to the fundraiser express their appreciation for what Ren’s has meant to them and to the city.
Adrienne Terrizzi of Pondview Drive said she and her husband, Anthony, did not want to sit and watch one of Amherst’s best-loved businesses go foreclosure, fearing big financial interests don’t take what she calls a city treasure.
“None can surpass the longevity of Ren’s service to this city as a permanently locally owned and operated business serving residents, travelers and visitors to city events and tourist attractions,” said Terrizzi.
“Ren has been an Amherst institution for decades,” said Ken Rosenthal of Sunset Avenue. “Personal service used to be common at most gas stations, but not anymore.”
Strong Street’s Ira Bryck also praised what Ren’s meant to Amherst. “Like many people around Amherst, I appreciate how Ren’s Gas Station and Gas Station have been the cornerstone of our downtown, and Ren has been a friendly and dependable member of our community. business,” Bryck said.
Debbie Palmer of Hadley said that when she arrived in Pioneer Valley in 1973, she immediately recognized that Gladu offered similar qualities to her own father, who was an auto mechanic.
“I can’t imagine many other businesses in town that have provided the level of service and care that Ren has,” Palmer said.
The greetings customers receive in a friendly manner while an employee fills the tank, checks the oil and washes the windshield, along with the banter and even the dogs always getting cookies, are what make Ren’s so appealing. for Robin Jaffin of Montague Road.
“Ren and his family’s garage and gas station is an iconic representation of what we have been and can continue to be if we fight for it,” Jaffin said. “Losing the only station where you can get both gas and community is a tragic and unacceptable outcome.”
Scott Merzbach can be contacted at [email protected]