CUMBERLAND — Cam Riddle’s dream of opening a 1950s-era gas station will come true Labor Day weekend.
And, at the same time, Cumberland will finally regain one of its time-honored hangouts.
The Shell service station at 296 Main St., built in 1972 and owned by the C.N. Brown Co., closed more than a year ago after the retirement of longtime operator Wayne Thompson of North Yarmouth. It’s been vacant, leaving passing motorists to wonder when – or if – the station would be back up and running.
But now those motorists are swinging by to greet Riddle, a 21-year-old Falmouth resident who started leasing the property Aug. 23. Since then he said he’s been working around the clock, cleaning, painting and renovating as he readies Revolutionary Gas & Tire for its debut.
After graduating from Falmouth High School in 2013 and attending automotive engineering school in Minnesota, Riddle continued his training in Texas before returning to Maine.
“I’d been looking for a shop,” he said in an interview outside the station Aug. 25. “It’s tough to find one, but I finally found this place right on Main Street. I liked the feel of it a lot, the gas pumps and the brick building … so I pulled the trigger on it.”
“I look at it as kind of like a giant man cave for me,” Riddle added. “I love doing it, so it’s not really like work. … I could hang out here all day.”
Riddle will soon get his wish. The pumps at Revolutionary Gas & Tire will soon be running again, but now with full service. Along with tire sales, the business will also cater to high-performance vehicles and classic cars.
“I’m really going for a vintage kind of feel,” Riddle said, noting that the full-service offering is “a ’50s-, ’60s-type thing. “I want to make it feel like that, especially with the Main Street address. Main Street America back then meant something different … so I want to bring it back to that, with some modern touches.”
Riddle also is aiming for his business to have the same community-hub feel as its predecessor. He will have biscuits on hand for dogs, and Hot Wheels cars for kids while their parents are getting a fill-up.
With about 15 cars a day already rolling in to check things out, Riddle said he has enjoyed meeting neighbors, making new connections and receiving flowers and business advice.
“It’s been really fun so far,” he said. “I’m not even open, and I’m already having fun talking to everybody. I’m excited.”
Cam Riddle of Falmouth plans to reopen the service station at 296 Main St. in Cumberland on Labor Day weekend. Revolutionary Gas & Tire will also specialize in servicing classic cars, like Riddle’s 1953 Buick.