Lew Vorrilas opened the gas station, North Reading Service, formerly Lew's Mobil, on Park Street 46 years ago. As a tenant at will, Vorrilas did not have a lease, but still found an eviction notice on his door last November.
"A neighbor first asked if I was closing," Vorrilas said. "I didn't know anything about it."
A few days later, Vorrilas received the eviction letter stating that he owed rent payments for the last five years. After producing the paid checks, Vorrilas was still asked to vacate, he said.
William Ryer, owner of the land, declined comment.
The members of the community will miss having the gas station in the center of town. Resident Mel Peake said, "I've gone there many times for gas. That's sad that he's leaving. He's a good guy."
Even those who wouldn't normally frequent the station seemed disappointed by the closing. Resident Keri Copobian said, "It's convenient. We stop there in a pinch, but it's expensive."
Though his station is closing, Vorrilas' son will stay in town.
"My son is going to move down the street," Vorrilas said. "I have to be out of here next month." Vorrilas' son, George, currently works with him, and will open a new location behind the original Jared B. McLane House.
The new location has special permits for automotive repair, state inspections, graphic design, signs and vehicle lettering, and recreational motor-sports marketing and repair.
The permits did not include one for dispensing gasoline, which leaves Lew Vorrilas without a business.