The owner of a gas station turns 20

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Owner Cindy Bieszk has run the Deli gas station for almost 20 years. Regan Meyer | schoolboy

At the Filling Station Deli in downtown Hillsdale, there’s a book full of orders from repeat customers on the reception counter. Owner Cindy Bieszk doesn’t need it; she knows them all by heart. But, when she’s not there, something else must remember her regular’s orders.

“If I’m not there, the kids can look in the book to see who usually has what. There are about fifteen if not more. Some of them don’t write everything. It’s just, “Do you want your habit? ” she said.

Founded in April 1990 by Dave and Jean Mills, the gas station has been a Hillsdale staple for 31 years. Bieszk took over on May 1, 2001. It will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year.

“I just want to feed people well. That’s where the names actually come from; we fill you up, ”Bieszk said.

Over time, Bieszk has expanded the menu, but says she hasn’t eliminated anything from the original offerings. A popular specialty that Bieszk has pursued is the early Lent muffuletta sandwiches. Muffalettas are traditional New Orleans sandwiches with Italian meat and a spicy olive salad.

“In 20 years, it has grown. We went from 30 – 40 to 140 pre-orders. Even with the snowstorm this year my total was lower and we still sold 110, ”she said.

But, the biggest change Bieszk has made is the location. Two years ago, she moved from the original small grocery store on the corner of a building on McCollum Street to the current location at 39 N. Broad St.

“It was very well received. It’s funny we’ve been here for two years now. We were downstairs for 29 years. People came to tell us: “We heard that a new place has opened its doors”. We’re like, “Well, that’s not really new. ”

Bieszk said the COVID-19 pandemic has not affected the business of the deli. At the McCollum Street location, the deli was too small for customers to sit inside. During the first 29 years of operation, gas station customers could only buy food to take out and deliver.

“We have enlarged the sidewalk. We’re just gonna keep this. If someone wants the sidewalk, that’s okay, ”she said.

Thomas Bieszk, the owner’s son, was 8 years old when she took over the charcuterie. Now he works as a manager of Bieszk. Bieszk also employs a variety of Hillsdale College football and basketball players.

“It’s nice to have these kids. They are my children forever, ”she said. “It’s a mom thing. It’s nice to get to know the children, where they come from, what they look like. It is a very beautiful thing.

The highlight of owning the deli is getting to know your customers, Bieszk said.

“It’s nice to see different faces and to meet different people, and to get to know the clients, whether they are from the university or whether they are from the area,” she said. .

One of those people she has come to know is city councilor Robert Socha, who is also a regular at Bieszk. He said he was a regular at gas stations for a number of reasons.

“I love the owner. She has good portions, good service, good food, ”Socha said.

A feeling shared by Thomas Bieszk, who said that the quality of the gas station speaks for itself.

“Why shouldn’t they come? We have great food for great value. Ask anyone who comes here. They will tell you, ”he said.

Looking back on the past 20 years, Bieszk says she won’t change him.

” The time has passed. It really is, “she said.” But, I still wouldn’t do this if I didn’t like it. “

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