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Full service going way of the dodo
But Jappy Stringer follows in footsteps of father
022908 BIZ FULL SERVICEWeb
Will Riner, right, fills up the gas tank of Doc Smith at Jappy Stringer's Chevron on Fair Road. Smith has been a regular customer at the full-service gas station for what he calls a number of years. "You can't be anything but happy with Jappy," Smith said. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

            Jasper William Stringer is part of a dying breed.

            “Jappy,” as he is affectionately known, is the owner/operator of Stringer Chevron on Fair Road in Statesboro, one of the last “full service” service stations in this area.

            Originally opened in 1970 by Stringer’s father Bobby Stringer, many local residents have come to depend on Stringer and his service station for more than gas and vehicle repair.

            “I have picked up people at the hospital and even fixed garage doors,” Stringer said. “Recently, one of my regular customers came in and asked me to get a splinter out of their finger. I do whatever I can do to help. It is all about service.”

            Stringer said his father was very forward thinking when he opened the Fair Road operation.

“Prior to opening this station, Dad operated a service station at the corner of North Main and Parrish Street,” he said. “When daddy put the station here, it was a two lane road and all of the stuff that has been built around us was not there. I guess he saw the growth in Statesboro coming this direction as the college was growing. I think he made a very good move.”

            Stringer took over the family operation when his father retired in 1985. His wife Emily joined him in 1989 and has been running the office end of the operation ever since.

            “I may talk to everybody and see about the cars, but Emily keeps the rest going,” he said. “I couldn’t have done any of it without her.”

            Stringer has two mechanics that work in his service bays and college aged students that service clients at the gas pumps. “We have both self-serve and full-service gas islands, but if someone who needs help pulls up to self-serve pump, our guys will go out their and give them a hand with the gasoline. We are a service station, it is what we do.”

            One of Stringer’s appreciative customers is Statesboro resident Anita Masters. Masters said she depends on Stringer, and knows that many of her friends do as well.

            “If he ever goes out of business, I will be distraught,” Masters said. “He has been a big help to me, and I depend on him tremendously. If he can’t fix my problems, he tells me where to go, and anytime I need Jappy, he is right there.”

            Masters said there are a lot of women that live alone and don’t have anyone to help them with certain things. She said Stringer will always do what he can.

            “If my battery gives out, he comes to the house and jumps the car,” she said. “It really doesn’t matter what it is, if he can help in any way, he will.”

            Stringer acknowledges that it is hard for him to charge his customers for everything that he does.

            “I am sure that I give away a lot of service,” he said. “But, there are some things that I do that you just don’t get paid for, and that is okay. I have a lot of loyal customers, and I can’t ask for more than that.”

            Jean Lanier, a long time friend and customer of the Stringers, lives 15 miles from  Statesboro.

            “Sometimes, my car won’t start and I just get stuck out here,” Lanier said. “Without Jappy, I guess I would have to walk. He never complains about having to come out this far. He just gets my car going, and makes sure that everything is okay.”

            “The Stringers are some the nicest people that you would ever want to meet,” she said. “They are the kind of folks that you would want as your next door neighbor. I just can’t say enough nice things.”

            Stringer said funny things happen and you just have to deal with it.

            “Years ago, a fellow pulled up in a pickup truck with some chickens in the back,” he said. “Some of them got out and started running around the station. Two of them ended up back in the service by area. It took us two days to catch them.”

            Please note that H&H Service Center in Statesboro is also a full service station. They declined to be interviewed at this time.

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