Feature Contributors

Column: Vic and Max continue rich legacy of Bonded Oil

Dear readers,

I always enjoy the car show at Kennedy Park every summer. Today’s story began last summer as I was admiring Pete McCorkle’s entry in the show, a 1966 Fleetside pickup truck.

I commented on what a shame it was that vehicles would all be electric in a few years. A fellow standing next to me said, “I sure hope not, I just opened my gas station.”

The fellow was Vic Mirza. He along with his business partner, Max Akram, are the new owners of Bonded Oil. 

I almost forgot about that conversation until last week when I stopped at Bonded Oil for gas. Having forgotten to stop by the store for milk, I went inside and discovered that Bonded sells local milk produced at the Flatrock Creamery. I also discovered that Bonded Oil is in good hands.

Locals have been receiving excellent service from Bonded Oil for generations. Old-timers remember when the station was owned by Jerry Martin. Jerry’s famous motto was painted on the sign, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”



Old-old-timers will remember that Jerry took over from the original owner Bruce Wright. After Jerry it was Jerry’s son, Bruce Martin, namesake of the original owner, who carried on the tradition of great service.

Bruce Martin, a contemporary of mine, is the owner I knew best. Bruce and his late wife, Mary, had three daughters, Cisma, Kylie, and Kari. 

Perhaps none of their daughters had the calling to take over Bonded. It was a sad day when Bonded Oil closed on Sept. 30, 2014. Coincidentally, that date was the 59th anniversary of the death of James Dean. Bonded Oil had been in business for 76 years. If James Dean ever drove though Shelbyville, he could have filled his tank at Bonded. 

It looked like Bonded Oil had come to an end like many other Shelbyville gas stations from the past. Totten’s Pure is now Speedway.  Ogden’s Sunoco is now Valero. Vaught’s is Conoco. Mean’s Texico is long gone. Finally, George Arthur’s Pure Station that set the world record for the number of soft drink machines is only a memory.

Vic and Max knew that they were buying more than a piece of real estate when they bought the closed business. Vic treasures a photo of his handshake with the late Jerry Martin memorializing the moment they closed the deal. Transferred along with that piece of real estate was the Tao of Bonded Oil summed up in that famous motto, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”

It took Vic and Max a long time and a lot of hard work to build the new building before reopening Bonded Oil this past June. They try to always have the lowest gas prices in town.

They also provide the services that made Bonded Oil popular for generations. Vic and Max will cash your payroll or government check.  If for any reason you want help pumping gas, call 317-699-6189 and someone will come out and pump your gas. 

Local employees include Lexi Farley, Mindy Rivera and Gloria Michaels-Brown, who manages the store. Gloria is the daughter of one of my grade school classmates. She speaks highly of Vic and Max and is proud to be carrying on the tradition of providing excellent service for a new generation of Bonded customers.

Gloria pointed out that in addition to milk from Flatrock Creamery they also carry a selection of cheesecakes from “The Cheesecake Lady.” Other favorites include amazing salads prepared fresh daily along with wraps, cold subs, and Hunt Brothers Pizza.

Free delivery also is available.

Bonded Oil is back thanks to Vic and Max. If only electric cars are made in the next few years, I think Pete McCorkle will still be able to gas up his 1966 Fleetside Chevy pickup truck at there.

Both are a part of Shelbyville’s Americana that hopefully will be around for future generations.

 See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

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