You don’t say

shocker“I think when it comes right down to it, everybody’s got a pretty good sense of humor.”

PumpHouse owner Jim Ross, who has had only a few complaints about the Old Town bar’s new mural of a Shocker beast (a cross between the Hulk and a wheat shocker) squeezing the necks of a tiny Jayhawk and Wildcat

You don’t say

“It’s hard to find someone bitching about a Bud Light.”

Cory Ross of the Pumphouse on why the bar business is better than the gasoline business

You don’t say

“Take the gasoline tanks out and say goodbye.”

Jim Ross on this week’s removal of underground storage tanks at the Pumphouse, where he says gallons of beer are now making a much better profit than gallons of gas used to

You don’t say

“I’m not uncomfortable with, win or lose, my opponent being there. I think it’s a show of solidarity with each other.”

– State Senate candidate Tim Snow, who is joining other Democrats (including opponent Perry Schuckman) at the Pumphouse for a watch party Tuesday night

You don’t say

“Everything came together – the weather, just the Saturday thing … lots of green beer.”

PumpHouse owner Jim Ross, who was one of many bar owners to benefit from huge sales because St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Saturday this year

If the Machinists get thirsty, the PumpHouse is ready

WICHITA — Last year, PumpHouse owner Jim Ross was a tad unprepared for what to expect when Machinists union members rallied in front of the Courtyard by Marriott in Old Town, which happens to be across from his bar and restaurant.

“It was a very busy, loud day,” Ross says. “Most of our beer was gone at the end of the day.”

So this year, he’s ready.

There’s a Machinists rally at 4 p.m. Friday in the same spot since contract negotiations have been ongoing at the Marriott and the Hotel at Old Town.

“This year, we’ve kind of geared up a little better.”

Ross prefers not to talk shop about unions or anything related to the rally.

“I’m just selling beer. That’s all I do.”

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 »

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.