The sun came out just in time on the afternoon of Saturday, June 9 to herald the fourth annual Thurmond’s Far West Auto Customer Appreciation Day in Anchor Point.
Owner Elaine Griner and her husband, Dale, welcomed their customers and the local community to celebrate the anniversary of the four years that they have owned and operated Thurmond’s, the landmark gas station on the Sterling Highway. Griner, with the help of family members and employees, provided a spread of free food, including fresh halibut, as well as free coffee and desserts.
A classic car show topped the event, with vintage vehicles owned by local residents, including Dale Griner, and the Kaknu Kruzers Car Club of Alaska. Kaknu Kruzers has been a regular part of the Customer Appreciation Day for the last three years.
“I just think it’s really fun because they help make our day,” Griner said of the car show and the Kaknu Kruzers.
Since Thurmond’s grand re-opening in February 2015, the Griners have witnessed the relationship between the business and the community and the impact that each has had on the other.
“When we shut the place down in January 2015 … I could really see how hurt the community was by not having this place. I saw how important this business was,” Griner said. “When we opened the doors and the people started coming back, [the Customer Appreciation Day] was a way I could give back to the community and show them how much I appreciated their support of this business and the positive response back. It was my way of saying ‘thank you..”
For Griner, the annual Customer Appreciation Day is not just a way to give back to the community, but also a way to connect with its individual members.
“It’s a wonderful thing, what I saw this year, it’s not just an event that people can come to and have free food. It’s a place where you can reconnect with old friends that you don’t see very often and visit, and I saw a lot of people (on Saturday) were hanging out that hadn’t seen each other in a while, so that was a lot of fun,” Griner said.
Griner plans on holding the Customer Appreciation Day every year to give a little thanks back to the community that continues to support Thurmond’s Far West Auto.