ARM and LEG gas station to close in January

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -- It's the business that has become known as the "arm and a leg gas station" in Reno. It all started in 2003 when owner Moe Alazawi put that sign up two years after he bought the station across from the University of Nevada. He says he did it to express frustration over the price of gas and he was shocked by the attention it got.

"I was surprised by how many pictures people have taken of ARM and LEG," he says, referring to the price board. "You google the address here and it pops up the sign arm and leg."

He never took it down and since then, he's been using the other side of the price board as his sounding board. Not only about the Wolf Pack, but politics. But it was the sign he put up regarding Colin Kaepernick in November that raised the most controversy and elicited vandalism. Alazawi, who was born in Syria, says he has no regrets.

"Everybody has the right to speak his mind," he says. "That's the beauty of this country. I mean, I am not born here, but I enjoy the freedom of speech and enjoy all the things this country offers. I mean, if you're going to shut me out by shooting the sign, it's not going to happen. I mean, I'm going to speak my mind."

In fact, Alazawi would keep using the board to share his opinions if he didn't need a break. He says after working long days for years, he's ready to relax at the age of 65. But it's a tough blow to many of his customers who have gotten to know the man behind the counter. Longtime customers and people in the neighborhood say his sense of humor inside and outside of the store will be missed.

"He is a character," says Chuck Shaw, a longtime customer. "All of his customers are very interactive with him. He loves his jokes, his signs, yeah. He's a great guy."

"I have a lot of friends, I mean, most of the customers are friends," says Alazawi. "I don't consider them a customer. Reno's been good to me."

Alazawi says he plans to close his doors in early January. He says the new property owners plan to get rid of the gas station and may put up housing in its place.