Martinís Serves Up Generations of Smiles

Posted by: Economic Development Team on Tuesday, November 19, 2019

If there’s one thing you don’t expect to find in a gas station, it’s a gift shop. Transforming a convenience store into an enchanting emporium of Maryland-themed gifts is just one of the ways that Martin’s Service Station in La Plata will surprise you. From their rich family history to their helpful professionalism, the station exudes Southern Maryland warmth through and through.

“My husband is third-generation. His grandfather started on this corner in 1922,” shares Caroline Martin, whose husband, Marty, hails from a long line of Charles County businessmen. Memorabilia including a vintage Martin’s uniform, articles, and ads from days of yore link the past to the present. Each memento speaks to the legacy of love (and determination) that inspire Caroline and Marty to continue the tradition. But staying the path hasn’t always been easy—especially when a 2002 tornado demolished the service station. While other entrepreneurs might have walked away, the Martins rebuilt, and the business emerged stronger than ever.

One of Caroline’s favorite aspects of entrepreneurship is seeing the surprise on new customers’ faces when they walk in. Word of mouth matters in Charles County, so visitors will often say,” ‘I just had to come in and see this gas station!’” she says. While curiosity attracts passers-by, the Martins rely heavily on their strong business ties to keep patrons returning. “The Welcome Center is very good to us,” Caroline remarks, referring to the Crain Memorial Welcome Center. “When tourists stop to look for a little Maryland souvenir, the Welcome Center is very kind to send them here.”

A true legacy business of Charles County, Martin’s Service Station will celebrate its hundredth anniversary in 2022. Their multi-generational commitment to their customers—and to the county—speaks volumes about our community.

From gas stations to gift boutiques, Charles County celebrates economic diversity and entrepreneurship. Visit our Retail Development page or Start and Grow page or contact us at to learn more.

On the heels of its hundredth anniversary, Martin’s Service Station provides gas, auto repair, and retail therapy to the Charles County community. Martin’s is renowned for its gift shop, stocked with Maryland-themed souvenirs, books, and decor. From their charming holiday displays to their love of community, Martin’s exudes Southern Maryland hospitality.

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