Daily Archives: June 29, 2010

PumpHouse will keep pumping — but not gas

pumpUPDATED — After almost 80 years in business, the PumpHouse will no longer be pumping gas as of late July.

“It’s a landmark in Old Town,” owner Jim Ross says.

The area has changed, though, and the PumpHouse is changing with it.

Five years ago, Ross and his wife, Judy, converted part of their property into a bar and restaurant. It has done so well, it’s edged out some of their gas business.

“The bar has become so popular that people now think it’s just a parking lot, and they’ll pull up at the pump and go inside,” Jim Ross says. “They think the gas pumps are fake. We can’t even sell gas.”

The Rosses have expansion plans.

“We need to do things like add to our food menu and develop the rest of our property,” Jim Ross says. “It’s just got a lot of potential that we haven’t tapped yet.”

It’s probably not quite what his father envisioned in 1931 when he first opened a gas station.

“He started in a location just about nine blocks from here, right across the street from the new arena,” Ross says of his late father, Bob.

“The guy that was in this location went broke, and Vickers Petroleum asked my father to come take this location.”

That was in the late ’30s.

“He had a lot of the downtown commercial business at that time,” Ross says.

Commercial sales, such as to a large cab company, were a big part of the PumpHouse’s business.

Ross went to work there in 1959. He took over the shop when his father retired in the early 1970s.

“As the downtown started declining, business started moving to the suburbs,” Ross says. “The gasoline business declined a little bit.”

The service side of his business did well, though.

So did an unexpected side of the Rosses’ business.

Twenty years ago, Judy Ross used to make sandwiches for employees.

Customers smelled her cooking and suggested she make food to go.

“One thing led to another,” she says.

Read More »

RPM Motorsports moves to West Kellogg

WICHITA — Robert Paul Musgrove, who is better known as Bob, is setting up his R.P.M. Motorsports in new space at 10817 W. Kellogg.

He says he’s “got an awful lot of customers calling and wondering if we’re ready to go back to work.”

R.P.M. builds custom vehicles from the ground up.

“We do everything from muscle cars and antique restoration to street car modifications to all-out drag cars,” he says. “We have a big following in the drag car world, street car world and show car world.

“We’re not just a shop that does one thing.”

His former space at 4129 W. Pawnee had 5,000 square feet. His new space is 10,080 square feet, which he says will allow for a large showroom. There’s a big parking lot as well.

“We’re in the process of growing our business and have more than doubled the size of our shop,” Musgrove says. Also, he says, “We have increased our exposure considerably.”

Read More »

You don’t say

“It’s make-believe music, is what it is.”

Ed Swarts Jr. on older music that’s been remastered onto CDs, which is why he’s opened Spin It Again Records at 1623 S. Hillside to sell vinyl records

PumpHouse to quit selling gas in late July

WICHITA — After almost 80 years in business, the PumpHouse will no longer be pumping gas as of late July.

“It’s a landmark in Old Town,” owner Jim Ross says.

The area has changed, though, and the PumpHouse is changing with it.

Five years ago, Ross and his wife, Judy, converted part of their property into a bar and restaurant. It has done so well, it’s edged out some of their gas business.

“The bar has become so popular that people now think it’s just a parking lot, and they’ll pull up at the pump and go inside,” Jim Ross says. “They think the gas pumps are fake. We can’t even sell gas.”

The Rosses have expansion plans.

“We need to do things like add to our food menu and develop the rest of our property,” Jim Ross says. “It’s just got a lot of potential that we haven’t tapped yet.”

For the full story, including some of the PumpHouse’s history, check back here later today and in tomorrow’s Wichita Eagle.