People and Places with Pierce: Pirates at the pump

GREENVILLE, N.C. – “It’s definitely a head turner,” admitted Gray Daughtridge, president, Daughtridge Gas & Oil.

On the corner of Greenville Boulevard and East Tenth Street, an ordinary looking gas station comes to life.

“It like brings it out. It’s just exciting,” said Teraje Wic, Greenville. “There’s just something exciting about it.”

Something exciting about two pirates dangling from the overhang at the Oasis 7 gas station in Greenville. Gray Daughtridge takes full credit for this station’s claim to fame.

“We’ve had the property for a while,” explained Daughtridge. “We remodeled it about 6 or 7 years ago. When we did, we decided to go with a pirate theme because we are in Pirate Nation.”

A collection that started with one single solitary pirate has now grown to seven. And you better believe the guys and gals draw quite the reaction from people stopping in and driving by.

“Mostly they’re just curious,” said Daughtridge. “They’re wondering what in the world those things are, if they’re there all the time.”

“When I came here, I looked and was like, they must get paid a lot of money,” said Wic. “That’s cool! I would do that! And then somebody told me they were fake and then I actually came up here and saw them and I was just amazed.”

But amazement isn’t always the reaction the swashbucklers get.

“I had one lady come, she thought somebody was trying to commit suicide,” said Joseph Moore, store manager, Dunkin Donuts. “So she hurried up and rushed into the parking lot and came and told us. We said, ‘Ma’am, it’s ok. It’s just pirate statues.’”

“Where do you even find life-size pirates like this,” asked 9 On Your Side.

“That’s a good question,” answered Daughtridge. “We actually found them in Myrtle Beach. We found them at auctions. If I had to guess, they used to be at putt-putt courses. When we were looking around for the life-sized pirates, we found some that you hang from the ceiling. And so we thought the only way people will know that we have these if they don’t come in is if we put them on the gas pumps.”

It’s hard to imagine it any other way.“If it didn’t have it, it would be like other regular gas stations.

“If it didn’t have it, it would be like other regular gas stations,” said Wic.

“Purple pride, they come flocking wherever they support the Pirates,” said Moore.

As for adding more?

“We are running out of room,” said Daughtridge. “But if we run across the right one, I’m sure we’ll find a space for it.”

Time will tell if it becomes an oasis for even more.


We’re always looking for your story ideas for People & Places with Pierce. If you have an interesting person or place you’d like to see featured, email Pierce or send him a message on Facebook or Twitter.


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