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Freeman Oil under new ownership as Central Avenue Sinclair

Mark Staskywicz worked for Stan Freeman as a mechanic more than 10 years ago and always hoped he could some day own a business like Freeman Oil and Body Shop in downtown Kenmare.

4/12/16 (Tue)

New owners . . . From left; Mark, Kyle and Sara Staskywicz, settle into their new business in downtown Kenmare. The Staskywicz’ recently purchased Freeman Oil and Body Shop and have renamed it Central Avenue Sinclair and Body Shop. The service station is open Monday through Saturday.

By Marvin Baker

Mark Staskywicz worked for Stan Freeman as a mechanic more than 10 years ago and always hoped he could some day own a business like Freeman Oil and Body Shop in downtown Kenmare.

He got his chance on March 31 when Staskywicz, his wife Sara, and their son Kyle, assumed ownership of Freeman Oil and Body Shop and have renamed it Central Avenue Sinclair and Body Shop.

Sara Staskywicz grew up in Kenmare and is a 1989 graduate of Kenmare High School. Her father, Darvin Lindquist, was a longtime employee of The Kenmare News as the pressman.

Kyle, who is now 20 years old, went through the sixth grade in Kenmare before the family moved to Williston.

“It’s good to be home,” Sara said. “We have been running things for Stan since Jan. 1, but we officially took over on the afternoon of March 31.”

They admit they’ve taken a big step but truly believe that Central Avenue Sinclair will provide them many years of satisfaction as it did for Stan Freeman.

Mark was working in the oil field and his job lately had become very sporadic so when the opportunity presented itself, he seized it. Sara was service manager at Select Ford in Williston and recently quit to be in Kenmare. She is also employed at Gartner’s Jack & Jill.

For the past year and a half, they’ve lived in Burlington and were driving to Williston. Currently, they are driving to Kenmare, but will soon change as well.

Sara proudly announced that they’ve purchased a house in Kenmare and will be moving in. They plan to keep their home in Burlington for now, which Kyle will rent.

It’s easy to see that the Staskywicz’ are excited to be working in downtown Kenmare and are looking forward to serving all of Freeman Oil’s customers and new ones.

They’ve made a few cosmetic changes to the interior of the building but customers can expect the same service they had under Freeman Oil.

“Nothing is going to change, but we are planning to add detailing,” Mark said. “We’ll sell mostly the same stuff Stan did.”

According to Sara, they’ve added a convenience corner with popcorn, candy, coffee and hot chocolate and a seating area in front of a large window that looks out over the downtown square.

In addition, Cookies and Confections goodies will be offered as part of that convenience.

Sara said some people are already making it a habit to drop in during the afternoons for a cup of coffee and a chat.

The office has been remodeled and they plan to remodel the bathroom and upgrade the heating system.

Sinclair is coming to town sometime this summer and the island and front of the building will get a face lift. Mark said it will look very similar to the Sinclair refueling station at Totten Trail.

When that happens, the Freeman Oil sign will be removed and donated to Pioneer Village.

The service will be light mechanical, body work, bulk gas and fuel delivery and most of the sale items that customers are familiar with such as Interstate batteries, windshield wipers, oil filters and engine oil additives.

“Oil changes have already picked up,” Sara said. “We want to stay busy with that and light mechanical. And, we’ll come and get your vehicle.”

She added if you lock your keys in the car, they will unlock the doors for you or jump start your vehicle when it fails to start.

“We’re always willing to help,” she said.

In addition, they will soon be changing fluids on ATVs and UTVs.

There is also a unique feature of this Kenmare business that was once commonplace in North Dakota but has become rare. The Staskywicz’ will continued to offer full service at the pump, to go along with self service that nearly every refueler has these days.

Diesel and gasoline are available at the pumps.

Sara said a handful of ladies in town like the convenience of full service and suggested more customers give it a try.

Kyle is being trained in to do oil changes and will be driving the bulk fuel truck.

“We will talk to farmers on ways we can help them,” Mark said. “We’ll try to sell bulk fuel and oil – diesel and gas – in a way that makes it easier for them to operate.”

Mark and Sara also want to become more involved in the community. Sara played girls basketball for KHS and is looking forward to getting back to some of the high school sporting events and Mark has expressed an interest in being on the fire and/or ambulance squad.

Their intent is to also become a member of the Association of Commerce.

They said the city of Kenmare has been very supportive of them getting up and running through the Renaissance Zone and Fund Itt.

And when things settle down, they plan to get back into the drag racing circuit, which there is already a group of racers in Kenmare. Sara calls it “a family affair.”

Kyle likes to play guitar in his spare time and plays by sound, not by notes. Sara said he was a piano student of Jane Kalmbach when he was a child.

They all have a lot of respect for the Freemans and believe Stan was a good mentor.

“If I ever had issues, Stan was right there to help,” Mark said. “He helped me go through ASE certification.”

Mark has always been a mechanic. His father was a mechanic and he learned a lot from him growing up, including rebuilding an old Ford pickup.

“It’s a bug I’ve always had,” he said. “I guess I have a thing for working on cars.”

Central Avenue Sinclair is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The telephone number will remain the same at 385-4421.

Mark, Sara and Kyle are all eager to serve the community and suggest you drop in for a visit.

“We’ve gotten a lot of support from Stan’s customers,” Sara said. “And it seems we get lots of new customers every day.” ... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!