Tag Archives: Amoco

SPC Dealer & BP Marketer: Tony Mazzarini

Tony SrTony Mazzarini Sr. came back from serving in the Air Force in WWII, and made a vow “I will never be poor again.” The son of courageous hard-working immigrants who left home and family in the 1920’s, and braved an ocean voyage to come through Ellis Island to America in search of a better life, for Tony Sr., childhood was often a struggle.

After the war, Tony Sr. worked with a kindly old-timer named Max Gilbert and a few years later, in 1949, with Max’s help and blessing, bought some property, put in a couple of tanks and an air compressor, constructed a building and opened up what today is Parkway Services. Tony’s father liked Amoco’s white gas and the way it made his Harley run. So for almost fifty years it was an Amoco Station until 1998, when Amoco was purchased by BP.

Tony Sr holding Tony Jr
Tony, Sr holding Tony, Jr. pictured with his mother and six of his seven sisters.

Tony Sr. had seven daughters and one son. Tony Jr. was the seventh. To the son, his father was incredibly hard working, ambitious, and successful. Traditional, Tony Sr. handled things when there was a problem; but the boy didn’t really get to know his Dad until he started working at the shop, around seventh grade. While coming from a humble background, Tony Sr. did well enough to send his son to one of the finest universities in the world. Today Tony Sr. is almost ninety years old and he and his wife spend most of their time at their home in Florida.

ColumbiaTony Jr. was a starting linebacker for Columbia University and graduated with a degree in Economics. With a prodigious alumni network, Tony landed a job at a brokerage firm in the financial district. Smack dab in the middle of a boom, instant millions were made in this era; remember the film portraying that hedonistic world, “Wall Street.” Tony told his father that he wasn’t happy in his work or living in the fast lane. His father responded, There’s always a job here for you.” How many celebrated athlete Ivy League educated economists return home and go into the family business?

Tony has been happily married for twenty-three years to his wife Michelle, a former teacher, who has a Master’s Degree in Mathematics. Tony says, “We are still in love.” They have three daughters and a son. So in the two households that Tony has lived in, there have been twelve women and only three men, so really, what chance did Tony have? Tony decided while he believed in his father’s work ethic, he vowed to be totally involved in his children’s lives. Like his father, Tony has been successful and caring enough to pay for his children’s education. Inside Tony’s station there are pictures of his beautiful family, and even his son’s football helmet.

Tony’s oldest Cara is just graduated from Villanova University. Cara earned a degree in Mechanical Nuclear Engineering, and chose to work for the government. Tony and Michelle are extremely proud that Cara was chosen to give a speech to her Engineering Graduating Class, and that they were so impressed with her, they asked her to give that speech a second time at the entire university’s graduation. Tony was overcome with emotion, watching his oldest child move on to the next exciting chapter in her life, educated, prepared, confident and loved.

A second daughter Alyssa followed her sister to Villanova and is studying to be a Certified Public Accountant. At Chartiers Valley High School, Alyssa was the starting center on a basketball team that had the courage to make it to the State Championship Game. Alyssa just finished her first half-marathon. Tony thinks Alyssa will be very successful at business.

Their third child, Anthony Joseph III or “AJ” will be graduating from Chartiers Valley High School where he was a starter on the contending football team. AJ will attend Penn State in the fall and undertake a new program that combines Business and Environmental study. Tony coached youth football for fourteen years, even after AJ had moved on. If sometime in the future, AJ says to his father, “Dad, I don’t really like this career path I have chosen,” Tony just might say, “There’s always a job here for you.”

Tony’s youngest Amanda is in high school and likes sports and girl stuff. She excels in basketball and volleyball and like her siblings; she participates in youth missions that are associated with her parish, Our Lady of Grace. Tony is involved in his parish and active in his community and. For some, loving a child is looking into God’s eyes.

Tony Mazzarini ExportTony has wonderful things to say about his employees. Like family to him is Rosalie Pabis, his trusted and devoted bookkeeper for over thirty years. “With over thirty-five years of experience, Dave Hodges is the most talented, honest and hardworking technician I have ever known.” Tony also said, “With almost twenty years of service, Garfield Smith has worked his way up from part-time clerk to manager of our very busy c-store.”

Tony has diversified in business. He invested in commercial real estate, a strip mall and other ventures. Amplifying an old-time principle, Tony’s policy is to buy or invest in something every few years. Tony said, “Having the good fortune of being my father’s son, I was raised around the business and the work ethic and example Dad instilled in me carries me through every day and every decision I make.”

Years from now, when his children are telling their own personal stories, I believe that all of Tony’s children will say;

“I had the good fortune of being my father’s child.” 

Tony and Lurline’s Daughter

Erma And Chuck Framed ExportedCountywide Petroleum Company Dealer, BP Marketer Erma Dodd lives by several philosophies. One is “Separate Principal from Personality.”  For Erma, “Principal” means the job has to be done right, honestly and fairly. “Personality” means when conducting business, personalities do change but her “Principal” still has to be followed. Another value Erma lives by is “she appreciates her integrity too much to lose it.” A wonderful person, ultimately, Erma’s life is guided by her faith.

Tony and LurlineExportedErma father Tony Saveikis was the son of Lithuania immigrants. At age fourteen, Tony began work as a butcher in the West Park section of Pittsburgh. Five years later, at nineteen, Tony bought the shop. Tony met the love of his life when his future bride Lurline came into his store. In the early 1940s when Erma was two years old, Tony found a thirteen acre farm, ten miles west of Pittsburgh. Reluctantly, Lurline agreed to move to the “country.” A short time later, a new Route 22/30 cut through their property and that meant traffic and travelers. Tony built one of the first motels west of Pittsburgh. Would they name it Tony Town or Tonydale?  Their second daughter was named Toni so they decided to name it Tonidale. Motel business operates around the clock so it was logical that a twenty-four hour a day gas station so the Tonidale Gas Station was born. Tony decided the gas station’s midnight shifts would keep an eye on the motel and rent the rooms during the night. The guests needed somewhere to eat so a small diner came next.

In 1961, the “Superhighway,” the new Route put the gas station out of the main stream of traffic. Tony bought a piece of land down the Pike and literally picked up the gas station and moved it to the better location.  Tony bought another piece of cloverleaf shaped land nearby that had a little house and Tasty Freeze ice cream stand on it. On that property, Tony built the Tonidale Barber and Beauty Shop.

In the 70s, Tony built the Tonidale Self-Serve Station that was visible from the Superhighway and the first kiosk was so small it did not have a bathroom. The employees had to run across the street and use the restroom in one of the other businesses. In 1985 that station was branded Amoco and it was slightly enlarged to include an employee bathroom.

Erma fondly recalls a joyful childhood with a brother, sister and a doting mother and father, who were industrious, loved people and treasured each other. On Saturdays when Erma was in 7th grade, she worked with her dad at Tony’s Market. She weighed produce and put it in a brown paper bag and wrote the price on the bag for customers. She dusted shelves and kept the products facing properly.  In the 8th grade, she remembers wearing an apron and working at the Tastee Freeze. The next few years Erma worked Saturdays cleaning rooms at the Tonidale Motel. In the summer after her junior year, she worked in a bank. In 1957 Erma graduated from West Allegheny High School and received the honor as “Most Outstanding Student,” and she was State President of the “Future Business Leaders of America.”

After high school, Erma and her husband owned the Tasty Freeze and began their family. They moved into the little house next to the stand and operated the Tasty Freeze, and raised three sons who came to know all of their customers. After eleven years in the ice cream business, her dad helped Erma and her husband buy the Fort Pitt Motel. They moved into an apartment next to the motel office and worked there from 1969 until her marriage ended in 1987.

Months later, Erma went to the bank and a stranger opened the door for her. Two years earlier, Chuck Dodd, a contractor, had become a widower. Chuck noticed that Erma did not wear a wedding ring and Cupid hit him hard. Simultaneously, Erma noticed this gentleman. After learning she was single, Chuck sent a note to the Bank Manager and asked him to give it to Erma. The bank manager passed the note and arranged a meeting. From then on the bank manager’s nickname became “Cupid.” When they became a couple, the Bank Manager retrieved an image from a security camera that showed the two of them looking at each other that very first day. To this day, it is one of Erma’s most treasured photos. Erma calls Chuck her “Prince Charming.” After they wed, Erma moved from the motel to Chuck’s farm and home atop a hill with no neighbors in sight. She thought she had died and gone to Heaven. No more getting up in the middle of the night to rent rooms. Together in 1992, they bought four acres next to the motel and Chuck, his brother and sons and Erma’s sons built the Aqua Jet West Car Wash. In 2000, Chuck designed and completely rebuilt the original Tonidale Gas Station from the ground up and was on sight when the first shovel of dirt was turned until completion. Married for twenty-five years their combined family consists of seven sons, one daughter, their spouses, twenty-seven grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.

In 1977, Erma lost her mother; with tears spilling from her deep blue eyes, she recalls raising a glass of wine with her father to toast her precious mother’s memory. Lurline’s untimely death suddenly ended Tony’s drive to expand his business ventures and he was content to just care for and enjoy his family. Sadly, in 1986, after a lifetime of laughter, friendship, love and accomplishments, Tony died and Erma said, “joined Lurline in Heaven.”

In the late 90’s Amoco was purchased by BP. In 2008, Erma signed a contract to become part of Countywide Petroleum Company’s growing family. For years it was known that the bridge on the original Steubenville Pike had to be reconstructed. Finally in 2010, the bridge closed and traffic was cut off. Customers had a detour of two miles to get to the BP Station from the east and local customers from the west had to drive around road blocks to get their BP gas.

Erma has immense gratitude for the help Milo and Countywide Petroleum Company provided during the long fourteen-months that the bridge was closed and that it will still take years to recover from that loss. During the time of the bridge closure, Countywide re-imaged the Tonidale BP which included new dispensers, fresh paint and repairs to the parking lot; and Countywide also extended Erma other financial considerations. Erma says that her BP Station could not have made it without Countywide Petroleum Company’s kindness, understanding, help and support.

To this day, Erma misses her cherished parents and she often wonders what her life would been like without them. Erma knows she is blessed to have been Tony and Lurline’s daughter.