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Riverbank Shell Station Joins Digital Age
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A sign installer prepares the huge Shell logo sign for the top of the refurbished pricing sign on the corner of First Street and Highway 108/Atchison in Riverbank. The work was part of a modernization project for the gas station and food mart that has occupied this corner for decades.News Photos By Ric McGinnis

Drivers and pedestrians passing by the Riverbank Shell gas station on the corner of Atchison and First Streets recently may have noticed workmen replacing the iconic sign there. The decades-old gas station has gone digital – replacing its ancient price signs with electronic displays.

Station and Food Mart Manager Carol Gaspar watched through the store’s front window as a workman atop a scissor lift installed the new electronics that made it all possible. She said it was all part of a station-wide modernization which included new paint and signage all around.

The new digital displays at the corner will allow her to change the price signs with a remote control instead of having to muscle the numbers up to the sign manually on a pole, as was done in the past. The upgrade will function much like a TV remote control.

In the past, numbers were changed one by one, with suction cups on a pole, much like old movie marquees.

The entire sign post, at Highway 108/Atchison and First, was upgraded, with new wiring, lights, and a large new Shell symbol on the top.

And the upgrade included new signage around the pump awning and on the Food Mart itself.

Manager Gaspar said she’s worked at the station for more than 39 years. The station is owned by Paul Oil Company of Oakdale and is one of several in the area.

She said originally, the facility had two sets of gas pumps, one self-serve set, and one where attendants pumped the gas.

The buildings were configured differently, too, she said, with a garage, where oil could be changed and brakes worked on.

The station has been on that corner for decades, serving passersby and residents alike.