A family farewell for Vignes traditional service station

Shirley Vignes in front of the painted cartoon representation of her late husband John. Photo: Mary Keily.

AFTER more than four decades, the Vignes family are saying farewell to their family-owned service station on Sawtell Road at Boambee Creek.

The old-style service station, run by the family for 41 years, will trade as Vignes Independent Petroleum for the last time on Friday 24 May, with the new owners opening for business the following Monday.

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Famous for its customer service, the servo has always operated on the late John Vignes’ motto of “Look after the community and they will look after you”.

In practice this means petrol attendants coming to the driver’s window, receiving the order and providing a personal service that means the customer can stay put in their car seat.

“We have always been believers in offering that service to our customers; pumping the fuel, checking water and oil, washing the windscreen and providing tyre pressure checks,” John and Shirley Vignes’ son Dwayne told News Of The Area.

“I think that is the main reason we have survived in this industry for so long.

“People love that service.

“We have customers who have never put fuel in their own cars,” Dwayne said.

Situated close to Boambee Bay Resort, the service station welcomes many tourists who are “taken by surprise” when attendants “rock up beside their cars” to take the fuel order.

“I think customers love that interaction, I know we do,” Dwayne said.

“But it’s the locals who make it fun for us, and always with Dad’s motto.”

With Shirley reaching the grand age of 85, the time has come for her to consider a quieter life.

“Mum is still in the servo every day,” Dwayne said.

“You would never tell she was 85 years of age.

“She is so known and loved by our locals and it’s that interaction that keeps her so lively.”

Shirley has called the servo home since 1983.

John and Shirley moved to Coffs Harbour from Sydney in 1982 for John to manage the depot of an Australian-owned hire company.

“In early ‘83 when his employers asked him to return to Sydney he decided he loved the area too much to return so he and Mum became the managers of Boambee Bay Reserve.

“In ‘83 the servo became available, and they purchased the business from Gordon and Rosemary Kay.”

John and Shirley were under contract with the Reserve at the time so their eldest son, Greg, was put in as manager of the servo.

“After their contract was complete Dad and Mum moved in in 1984 after Greg decided to do a bit of travel,” said Dwayne.

All of the Vignes family have worked at the servo over the years.

Greg, Dwayne Lisa and Janelle have been involved in day-to-day operations of the servo but it was always John and Shirley who were the centre of the business.

Dwayne and his wife Anne took over the running of the service station when John passed away in 2012.

“The day Dad passed away people were driving by honking their horns as a sign of respect.

“That meant so much to us.”

With new owners Adam and Jodi Hudson – owners of Bonville Service Station, Local Post Office and General Store – taking over on Monday 27 May, Dwayne is sure of a great fit not only for the business but for the community, too.

“If we could have hand-picked a family to take over we would have picked the Hudsons.

“We are so happy for them and wish them all the best with this venture.

“We know our community is in good hands.”

The Vignes family thank the community “for all the great times over the last 41 years”.


One thought on “A family farewell for Vignes traditional service station

  1. I am family of the Vignes and so happy to see them recognised locally for what they have done for the community.

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