Camden Shell service station appears to have closed

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The Camden Shell, shown Thursday at the southwest corner of U.S. Highway 158 and Country Club Road in Camden, has apparently closed.

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Sunday, November 11, 2018

CAMDEN — One of the most visible service stations in Camden County has apparently closed.

Camden Shell, located at the southwest corner of U.S. Highway 158 and Country Club Road, appeared closed when a reporter visited last week.

The station’s gas pump nozzles are cov­ered with plas­tic wrap­ping con­tain­ing the words, “Sorry, out of ser­vice” or “Sorry, pump out of or­der.” In ad­di­tion, the let­ters of pro­pri­etor Jamie Wooton’s name have been re­moved from above the building’s cus­tomer ser­vice en­trance.

Even the station’s unique local trademark, a replica of a black bear to show support for Camden High School Bruins athletics, is gone.

For sale signs are posted on the property’s lawn asking those interested to contact the property owner, Quality Oil Co., a Triad region-based fuel distributor. The signs don’t make clear whether the Shell service station business or the property is for sale.

Wooton couldn’t be reached. A Quality Oil spokesman referred a reporter to the company’s marketing director, Michael Robb, who didn’t return a message seeking comment.

Attempts to obtain specifics from the Shell U.S. corporate communications office in Houston also were unsuccessful.

Camden Shell formerly was operated by Randy Krainiak, a Camden County commissioner. Krainiak left the business in 2012, citing a need to spend more time with his family. Wooton became the new proprietor.

According to Camden tax records, the service station dates to 1970 and has has a tax value of $392,518.

The Camden Shell was built in a ranch-style building, a reflection of major oil companies’ desire to have more eco-friendly looking stations in response to the 1965 federal Highway Beautification Act. The law resulted from then-First Lady Lady Bird Johnson’s call to rid America’s roadsides of clutter and junkyards.