Family owned use hire in Bonner Springs closes after scarcely 6 decades

March 26, 2016 - Picnic Time

When Bill Stephan non-stop a Bonner Springs use hire in 1959, he started off with a elementary square of recommendation that has served him well.

“A sales repute told me to take caring of everybody that comes in and provide them good and they will keep entrance in,” pronounced Stephan, 84.

And come they did, for scarcely 6 decades.

On Saturday, dozens of friends, former employees, and family members collected one some-more time for a patron appreciation day to applaud a station’s final day. Before Stephan’s Service shuttered it doors for good during 7 p.m., a owners thanked their guest with giveaway prohibited dogs and pop. Later they lifted bottles of drink in a toast to a Stephan family.

Some of those collected pronounced Stephan’s Service — a BP hire during 601 E. Front St. — was some-more than a place to get fuel. It was a place where they would always see someone they knew, and where they could collect adult internal news. It was a place that still had that tiny city Main Street feel.

But with augmenting foe from one-stop food and gas hire chains, family-owned, full-service gas stations like Stephan’s Service are a failing breed.

“I’m going to skip this small place,” pronounced Kristie King of Bonner Springs, who had been a patron for 4 decades. “They even let me write a check. They know everybody in town.”

For years a hire was open daily — solely for a 1979 oil predicament when it tighten down on Sundays.

Founder Bill Stephan would arrive during 5:30 a.m. and work until dinnertime when he would conduct home. The 10-member Stephan family would accumulate during a cruise list in a dining room for a meal. After a discerning nap, Stephan would lapse to tighten a hire for a day.

Once when a automobile with inadequate brakes pinned him opposite a wall and pennyless his leg, he took off usually prolonged adequate for a alloy to patch him up. He was behind to work a same day.

“This place did all we wanted it to do,” Bill Stephan said. “It paid for my house, we lifted 8 children, sent them to Sacred Heart in Bonner Springs for 8 years, and 4 years of high school. Many went on to KU or Pittsburg State and they graduated with no debt.”

Most of a Stephan children — 3 boys and 5 girls — worked in a hire during one time or another. From a time they could drive, a kids were approaching to work and even stop in on off hours to take home money profits where it would be safer, or even hand-deliver statements to blurb accounts.

Craig Stephan done it his career, holding over a business in 1998 and afterwards purchasing a building and drift in 2002.

His father still came in any day to spin on a lights, make coffee, and take caring of a initial customers. Bill’s wife, Lois Ann, would stop in for giveaway coffee and a discerning discuss on her approach to work.

When they converted 3 of a pumps to self-service in a mid-1970s, employees found it tough to stop charity full-service during all a pumps.

But a family pronounced a attention is changing, with consumers opting for food and gas operations like QuikTrip. Road construction also diverted trade for scarcely a year and some former business got in a robe of interlude during other stations and never returned.

“More BP stations also non-stop adult circuitously so that was some-more competition,” Craig Stephan said. “We used to sell 110,000 to 120,000 gallons a month. Now it is about 35,000 and a domain is usually about dual percent.”

To keep adult with technology, a hire would have indispensable a new money register — during a cost of about $7,800 — and new pumps with chip-card terminals — during a cost of about $50,000.

If they usually kept handling a garage, they still would have had to take out a pumps and tanks since of supervision regulations.

Craig Stephan reminded business he’s relocating usually a few miles west, to Kling Auto Diesel Repair during 16463 Linwood Road. A fuel association has purchased Stephan’s building and another gas hire is approaching to open in a spot.

“You knew it had to come along some day so we ready along a way,” pronounced Bill Stephan. “You usually have to accept it and go on. It’s going to be sad, not saying all a people. You will still see a lot of them though not each day like here.”

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