Mendler is frequently asked why he has not upgraded to pay-at-the-pump. "It's strictly economics. We do maybe forty thousand, in the summer fifty thousand, gallons a month. And that's nothing by today's standards. Some of these places, the truck stops, the big Speedways, if they're not in the hundreds of thousands, or half a million gallons, they're nothing. And then you can justify spending eight, nine thousand [dollars] a pump. But it takes a long time to pay off that doing forty thousand gallons."
Part of the problem is access. With a single island, the station cannot accommodate more than four cars at a time, and if anyone parks carelessly not even that many. "People want to come in, pump their gas, they don't want to wait in line, wait for two or three other people. Could it be reconfigured? Probably. Maybe somehow put in two islands on the diagonal? That's not my desire right now."
Another contributing factor is that Mallek's sells only gas--no coffee, milk, or snacks. "In hindsight, I should have done something years ago and put in some sort of a mini convenience store, where I've got something other than just gas and oil and conversation. That's where they [other stations] make the money. They don't make it on gas. That's kind of a loss leader, just to get people in."