Oct 11, 2010 8:08 PM by Matt Stafford

Time warp in the middle of Colorado Springs

These days, with self checkout lines and pay at the pump, customer service may be falling by the wayside.   However, a cluster of businesses in the middle of Colorado Springs embrace an old fashioned way of doing things.  The pace may seem a little slower, but their business isn't.

Drivers might feel like they've been through a time warp at the intersection of Palmer Park Blvd. and Union Blvd.

"It is, I suppose, a little bit of a throwback deal," says Joel Taylor, manager of the Palmer Park Service Center.

The Service Center and two other businesses (Leon Gessi Pizza and BJ's Velvet Freez) have all been calling that intersection home for nearly 40 years.  The world has changed around them, but they've changed very little.  Its things like full service at the Service Center that take some customers back to yesteryear -- or surprise those not expecting it.

"Some of them are, you know, they wonder what you're doing out there at their car," says Taylor.

But the wonder can turn to shock as they get customer service they probably don't see too often anymore.

"They're actually kind of fascinated."

Taylor thinks this may be the last place in town you'll see a full service gas station.

"We're pretty close to the last, if not," Taylor explains.

When you're the only game in town, that makes your business unique.  The Service Center outlasted similar businesses that didn't pass the test of time, and now they're a flourishing example of a dieing breed.  They say business has been good.

The same nostalgic feeling helps out BJ's Velvet Freez; they've definitely noticed the world change since the business originally opened in 1954.

"This was the very furthest northeast part of town," says the restaurant's owner, Corey Houger "This used to be a gravel road out here at Union."  However they haven't always jumped on board with change.

However, they have made upgrades through the years.

"This is the very first drive-thru in Colorado Springs," Houger points out, noting how innovative it was at the time.  Some modern changes include new equipment and even a Facebook page. But they don't get away from the same old formula for success.

"We try to keep things simple and the same as it has been over the years," explains Houger, and it seems to be working.

"The economy is down, but our totals are up." Not just up, but Houger says this has been their best year ever.

Houger says the answer is just paying attention to customer service.

Next door at the Service Center, they've stuck with the same philosophy as BJ's.  Taylor says for them it's simple, if you treat your customers fairly, you'll be as busy as you need.


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