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The man behind the polar pop runs

How Balli Singh helps keep Taylor traditions alive

By Annabelle Blair | Echo

Taylor’s tradition of polar pop runs has become a business staple at the local gas station near campus (Photo by Hannah Bolds.)

Taylor’s tradition of polar pop runs has become a business staple at the local gas station near campus. (Photo by Hannah Bolds)

For four years, Balli Singh has been serving Taylor students and the Upland community through his business, the Marathon service station near campus (dubbed Handy Andy’s by Taylor students).

A friend’s recommendation prompted him to buy the gas station at the end of 2012, and Singh said the surrounding college community provides a significant amount of his business.

During summer break, with the majority of Taylor and Indiana Wesleyan students gone, Singh said Upland resembles a ghost town. However, the return of Taylor students accompanies his effort to stock-up on candy, chips and pop a few weeks in advance.

Although one of five employees, Singh is the sole employee working during this “Breadstick Tuesday,” one of the busiest days of the week at the gas station he owns (Photo.

Although one of five employees, Singh is the sole employee working during this “Breadstick Tuesday,” one of the busiest days of the week at the gas station he owns. (Photo by Hannah Bolds)

A Taylor tradition, polar pop runs were a new phenomenon for Singh when he began working at Marathon. The deluge of students, lined up at his counter to get a pop after an Awk-walk or floor meeting, is a Taylor tradition he now understands. According to Singh, student leaders usually let him know the day before these big groups converge. “The first time they told me about the polar pop run, I didn’t take it seriously,” he said. “It was a little hectic, but I enjoyed it.”

Originally from India, Singh said talking about overseas affairs is his favorite thing about working with Taylor students. “Lots of students have been to India, so (we talk) about the things going on and people over there and how they like their food,” he said.

Singh recognizes returning students, and many get to know him on a first-name basis: “They always come, when they finish college, to say a final goodbye,” Singh said.

Singh is used to being on-the-move while accommodating crowds of students (photo by Hannah Bolds.)

Singh is used to being on-the-move while accommodating crowds of students. (Photo by Hannah Bolds)

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