Mystery paint job explained
Building owner liked purple and yellow
Last updated 10/18/2022 at 9:42am
RITZVILLE – What's the deal with that yellow-and-purple service station on the corner of First Avenue and Jefferson Street?
Why is it painted those vibrant - some might say outlandish - hues? Was the owner a UW Huskies fan...or what?
A little background helps to unravel the mystery.
In 1960, Chuck McCormick, father of Ritzville Police Chief Dave McCormick, purchased a small Chevron station at 309 W. First Ave., the site of the current station.
According to Dave McCormick, Chevron later built a two-bay building on that footprint. Land records show that a canopy, marquee and asphalt were added as property improvements in 1965.
"My dad was the owner/operator of that station until about 1978," McCormick said. "Before Interstate 90 was completed, First Avenue in Ritzville was home to about 15 gas stations. First Avenue was a busy street."
Chevron added a third service bay and mounted a company sign on tall pillars next to the station.
"Motorists could see that sign from the freeway, especially at night when the lights were on. The sign itself was at least 20-feet tall," McCormick said. When the site ceased being a Chevron sation, the company "unbranded" it and took the sign down.
Chuck McCormick sold the service station to Robert Oestreich, who operated it until Adam Colbert bought it in August 2001, according to land records. Adam's Automotive served the community at that location for many years. But his business outgrew the site, so Colbert moved his operation next to the Texaco station further down the street.
In the spring of 2018, Colbert sold the smaller station to an investor, Luis Villalobos, who held the property for only six months. Land records show Villalobos then sold it to Stacy Startin and his wife in November 2018.
Startin operated an appliance repair and carpet cleaning business in Moses Lake and wanted to expand into Ritzville.
"I had grand dreams of what I was going to do there," Startin said. "I was going to have a used car lot and other businesses, but life happened," he said.
"That shop in Ritzville had a lot of potential, but it cost maybe $20,000 to get it going," he recalled. "To make a shop operational these days is outrageously expensive with the amount of specialty equipment you need."
Startin held the property for three years. During his ownership, he painted the service station and mounted a Ritzville Car Sales sign with matching yellow and purple colors. Not coincidentally, the colors also matched a van employed in Startin's carpet-cleaning business.
In March 2022, he sold the property to Charles Stone of Maple Valley and moved to Dayton, where he and his wife purchased The Dixie Grocery.
Legacy Telecommunications mechanic Randy Geary said his company currently leases the property from Stone for use as a maintenance shop.
Why did Startin choose those flamboyant tones?
"I painted it purple and yellow because I like those colors," Startin said. "There was no particular reason."