ST. GEORGE — After more than four decades in business, a fixture of St. George and a popular spot for locals closed its doors on July 31 and was demolished soon after. Where Hilltop Conoco, formerly Hilltop Chevron, stood for 44 years, a Maverik gas station will soon be constructed.
Hilltop Chevron, built in 1971, was the first gas station you’d see as you drove into St. George, Jeff Newby said. The store was built even before Interstate 15.
Newby’s father, Sherrell Newby, also known as “Shep,” ran the gas station for 23 years. Shep Newby died in 1994.
“He was a best friend to everybody. One of those people that everybody loved, just like they do the boys (Jeff and Troy Newby) these days,” St. George resident Tyler Truman said. “You’d always remember being able to go in there and him just doing anything to make you smile or make you happy. Always a cheerful guy.”
Chevron Corp. owned the station and, during the time Shep Newby ran the business, he was never able to get Chevron Corp. to sell it to him, his sons, Jeff Newby and Troy Newby, said. However, in 1995, after Shep Newby died, Chevron Corp. approached his sons with an offer to sell them the business. Jeff and Troy Newby and their mother, Jeri Newby, bought the gas station and carried on in Shep Newby’s stead.
About 10 years ago, the Chevron gas station changed to Hilltop Conoco, Troy Newby said.
To some, it was just the old gas station that loomed at the top of St. George Boulevard. But to many, it was the social hot spot, the parking lot to turn around in after cruising the Boulevard, and the town’s gathering place.
“Things I’m going to miss is just being able to stop in and say hi, have a drink and find out what’s going on around town,” Kip Bowler, a longtime customer, said.
The Newby family’s close friend, James Peterson, who is well known as “Boomer,” could be found standing outside the gas station, welcoming the customers as they entered.
“I’ll miss ol’ Boomer and the crispy creams (SIC) he finagled out of Jeff and Troy daily,” Truman posted on his Facebook page after the gas station closed its doors.
For all those years, Hilltop Conoco was open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Troy Newby said.
“So, hats off to our great help, our great employees,” he said.
Not having the Newbys’ gas station there anymore is an end of an era, Truman said.
“It has been my whole life. I’m 43 and it (the gas station) was born the year I was born,” Jeff Newby said. “So, basically, as long as I can remember, this station has always been here. So, 43 years seems like a long time. I guess change is good in some ways.”
“Always a lot of mixed emotions. You’re sad to see it go, and you’re excited for new,” Troy Newby said. “New is always nice, but it definitely does have mixed emotions.”
Popular gas station and convenience store chain Maverik Inc. contacted the Newbys about buying the Hilltop Conoco station, Jeff Newby said.
Maverik Inc. will be leasing the ground, he said. Maverik has already started the process of moving in – having torn down the old building –and will soon construct a new facility.
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