BLAINE – The Blaine Exxon gas station is one of the last full service stations around and the new ownership has seen business double.
Blaine Exxon is co-owned by Greg and Becky Corum of Blaine. Greg has lived in Blaine since 1952.
Greg’s grandfather, William Casey Corum, opened a grocery store that also sold gasoline in the 1940s with full service across the street from where Blaine Exxon now sits. His original store location is where Blaine City Hall is today and it was relocated after Hwy. 11W was increased from two lanes to four.
William passed in 1959 and that is when Greg’s parents went into the grocery business.
Greg’s great grandfather had an Esso distribution plant in Luttrell so they had a connection with gasoline. His uncle, Jim Frost, worked for the railroad then at the Esso distribution plant and that is when they decided to go into the gasoline business.
Before the gas station was opened, the land was his grandfather’s homeplace. The original brick house is located to the left of the gas station and there was a community ball field.
When it was decided to open a gas station in Blaine, the location selected was where the ball field was, so it went away.
Greg’s parents, Bruce and Billie Corum, co-owned the gas station with his Uncle Jim and Aunt Phyliss Frost in 1963. His other grandfather, VA Frost, built the gas station building. It began as an Esso station.
Greg was born and raised in Grainger County. The Corum and Frost families owned the Blaine IGA grocery store (where Cherokee Health now sits) and Greg’s skills as a butcher there were famous in all the surrounding areas. He also started coaching baseball in 1973, starting with Babe Ruth baseball. Among his many adventures, he was an assistant coach at Grainger High School and now spends time as an assistant coach for the Washburn High School Pirates baseball team.
Greg’s mother was co-owner of the gas station with his Uncle Jim and she passed away in September of 2020. Greg, along with his brother Gerald, became co-owners. They split the partnership with Gerald getting property and Greg getting the gas station. Greg and Becky took full ownership January 1, 2021. Greg wanted to keep the gas station for sentimental reasons. He said he missed the people and missed the customers that he knew from his days at the grocery store.
One of the first things Greg did when he became owner was to make gas available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When the station is closed, the pumps are still accessible with a credit card. Greg said the most important feature of the station is customer service. He emphasizes that he wants to make all of his customers satisfied and getting gas anytime is one way. Another added feature was introducing 100 percent gasoline with no ethanol at 93 octane. Plus, all the gasoline sold is Synergy which has been engineered to help clean up intake valves and improve gas mileage and performance. Greg has updated both bathrooms. He also purchased a new tire-mounting machine and tire balancer to go with the two older machines. He bought a new propane heater for the shop.
Greg also had brand new pumps put into the station. When he told the company installing the pumps he was full service, they said they install a lot of pumps and there are not many stations left in Tennessee that offer full service. Greg said they are the last of a dying breed.
Along with the full service gasoline, Greg sells propane, does oil changes and tire service, including repairs.
Greg currently has nine employees. Greg said, “I am blessed to have such great employees.” He said he never could have done any of this with the gas station without the help of manager Jay Frost. Jay is part of the family and has worked at the gas station for years. Jeff Looney is also a valuable employee and Greg has worked with him for 45 years. He came to the station after working at the IGA when it closed.
Greg said, “We appreciate people’s business and we need people’s business.” He explained that his station is not part of a franchise but is independently owned.
Blaine Exxon is located at 910 Rutledge Pike in Blaine. Full service hours are Monday through Saturday 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.