Paul McConkey operated the Victory Lane Service Station and Convenience Store in Brownstown for 16 1/2 years, something he began in 1992, because he saw a need in the community.
And it proved to be something he enjoyed over the years.
However, Sept. 30 was his last day in the business, as he handed the keys over to a new owner.
“I don’t think of it as retiring,” McConkey said, “It was a chapter in my life, and now I’m just going on to another chapter.”
When McConkey opened the business, racing at the Fayette County Fairground was a weekly event, drawing many talented drivers, both locally and from throughout the area. McConkey chose the name “The Victory Lane” for his business and used racing paraphernalia, emblems, victory flags and driver photos for the décor.
It soon became a favorite gathering place for the local men to meet, drink coffee and talk over just about anything and everything. There were two different groups, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
McConkey enjoyed these friends who gathered in his store and has been saddened by the loss of some of them over the years. He admits he will miss that, and plans to join them from time to time.
Right now, however, he and his wife, Doris, are busy moving from their home in Brownstown to their country home south of Brownstown. They bought an older farm in 2000 and built a new house on the ground last fall.
“The old house didn’t have electricity and plumbing,” he said. “I’ve been working on it and used it for a hunting lodge and sort of a get-away. Over time, we decided we would live there.”
When Doris retired last year, the McConkeys felt the time seemed right to sell the store, and begin another chapter.
An earlier chapter for McConkey was when he was in the roofing business.
“I got to where I couldn’t do that anymore. I got too hot a couple of times,” he said.
“I was looking around for something else to do. I could see there was a need in the community for a gas station and I needed an income. It’s not a business to get rich in, but if you can make a living, pay your bills, and do a service for the community – that’s the bottom line.”
He also said that he was also “just tired.
"There are several things I needed to do around the station, and I just don’t have the ambition to do it anymore, I’m tired,” he said, “but it’s been fun."
Once, during a conversation about retirement, McConkey recalled an older gentleman telling him, “You will know when the time comes for you to retire.
“Everything seemed to fall together and this seemed like the time for me,” he said.
McConkey and his wife expressed appreciation for the community’s support, and they hope the people of the area continue to support the new owner, Paul Padda. They believe that he will also support the community.
“I know from our conversation that Paul (Padda) will give back to our community during very hard times.”
Paul McConkey looks on changes in his life as “chapters.” Hopefully, this new chapter, too, will hold times of fun, fulfillment, rest and enjoyment of family, their new home and old friends.