Green Tree Motors owner transformed old Gulf Service Station for new home
Published 12:47 pm Wednesday, May 24, 2023
By Heather Richardson
It’s a common scene in any movie set in the 1950s and ’60s. A character pulls into a quaint but colorful service station and parks beside a tall, slender gas pump. A uniformed attendant rushes over to fill up the tank, wash the window and check the oil. It’s an idyllic image compared to today’s gaudy 10 pump, do-it-yourself convenience store experience, so it’s no surprise that folks across the country are buying up these discarded bits of nostalgia to restore them and put them to a new use.
Green Tree Motors owner Terry Arnold had just this idea in mind when he bought the old Gulf Service Station on the corner of G Street and Gap Creek Road. The building, which was initially the home of Britt Gulf Service Station, was built and formerly owned by Bobby and Beulah Britt. Their son Tyler still owns and operates Tyler’s Barber Shop behind the former service station. The building had changed hands several times before Arnold purchased it in November of 2022. While Arnold wanted to use the property for his pre-owned vehicle business, he wanted to revitalize the iconic retro look the building once had. True to the Gulf brand, the building had originally been white with orange stripes. Instead of replicating the original building, Arnold drew inspiration from other renovated and revitalized service stations across the country.
“We wanted to make it kind of modern but have a kind of retro or nostalgic look,” Arnold said. “We had been looking around and had seen some older buildings and older stations out west and around that they had done it in black, so I said we’ll do it in black and do the stripes in green. We wanted it to have an old school look but still have some curb appeal.”
In other parts of the country similar endeavors have resulted in former service stations being restored and used as local museums, restaurants, bars and coffee shops among other things.
Like many of the people taking on similar renovation projects, Arnold is a life-long classic car lover.
“My dad, he liked old hot rods. My uncles and cousins too. I just have always been around them for forever. It’s just in my blood. That’s all I know.” Though Arnold’s been through his fair share of classic cars over the years, there’s one favorite that always sticks with him.
“I’d say my favorite car, and I always keep one around, is a corvette. I just always keep one. I’ve had all different years, makes and models of them. I just like a corvette.”
While the business does sell a lot of late model vehicles, Arnold said they do plan to bring in some classic cars and street rods. Arnold said he spends a lot of time traveling and scouring the Internet looking for eye-catching cars or special requests from customers.
“All you got to do is come by and tell us exactly what you are looking for – color, miles, and whatnot,” he said. “We will definitely find it.”
You can visit Green Tree Motors at 2234 West G St., Elizabethton, call 423-547-9476 or look them up on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/greentreemotorstn.