Business of the Week – The Pit Stop

The Pit Stop, 907 North Main Street in Lamar is this week’s, Business of the Week at The Prowers Journal.

We’ve gone through a lot of changes in about 40 years of living in Lamar to get to where we are with the Pit Stop. The business, just like any person, goes through many changes, and some more are on the way. And we may get to what those are in a little while.

I remember the trip I took to Lamar from Syracuse, New York in 1973. I made the drive in a flatbed stake truck the Beverly Hillbillies would feel comfortable in. When I left New York, there was one and a half feet of snow in my front yard and three days later, the trip concluded with me and a horse that Nancy owned, rolling in to town to go to work for my father-in-law, Ralph Clark. I was the one working for him, not the horse. I wondered what the people in Lamar would think about this stranger from the east who rolled into their town. Nancy and I were married in the United Method Church here in Lamar on March 15th, 1969. We spent our honeymoon driving to Syracuse to live and work for four years before moving out west.

Ralph Clark owned a fuel delivery service from 1938 to 1972, delivering gas and diesel to area farms and ranches. It was located along East Beech Street, just north of where Radio Shack is located today. The Pit Stop was still a few years off, but it was on the way when I purchased my first gas station in 1976, switching my titles to ‘businessman’ from no longer being an agent for the Amaco gas company. To take you back a few more years, the Standard Oil station was owned by Carrol Hubbard and is next to where Quizno’s is located as the former DeLoach’s Tires business.

In 1978 we bought a property from Jim Laberteau at the corner of North Main and Maple Streets. And a couple of years later, in 1981, the Pit Stop came into existence when we purchased the Champlin Station from Curtis Haynes. That was at 907 North Main, where we continue to do business today. Also in 1978, we bought our first semi to haul fuel, and we have expanded that operation to four, along with five trailers that are on the road.

I decided that just like me, people in Lamar like to eat, so we expanded the Pit Stop into a sub sandwich shop in 1983. As we’ve noted in the past, folks can get gas, and get some fuel for their vehicles at the same time. I’m pretty sure we got into the portable-posterior-pleasing-pottie business about 1982 or 1983. Jim Civis was the auctioneer who sold, or maybe gave me the business that day, but the operation has often been the ‘butt’ of a lot of humor. I probably haven’t seen the ‘end’ of them either. I also went into the gas business with our propane operation in 1985. Okay, that’s enough of that kind of humor.

In 1987 we expanded a little more, opening a lube bay and the car wash, and made an attempt to open up a bakery in 1993. As you can see, I’m not really rolling in the dough from that venture. I’ve been called the Sultan of Soups, the Burrito Baron and the Potentate of Potties, but I’m still waiting for someone to call me rich.

As much as I love the history of southeast Colorado, I’m still interested in its future and seeing how the Pit Stop can fit in. I’ve gotten some good ideas from the marketing class I’ve been taking at Lamar Community College, and perhaps we can put some of them in operation. There have been some thoughts about expanding the menu so the Pit Stop can continue to serve our current clientele and add some new ones as well. We’ve even got a webpage developing, and you can follow its progress at Along with the work, the most fun I’ve had has been in helping to promote Lamar, Prowers County and southeast Colorado to the outside world. I and the fourteen employees at the Pit Stop want to thank all our patrons for their support over the years, and take it from me; the people of Lamar, Colorado live in the greatest town in all the world. Drop by the Pit Stop on North Main Street. You can dine in or order a tasty takeout from our Sub Shop at 336-4323, open seven days a week.


Filed Under: BusinessBusiness of the WeekChamber/Local BusinesscommunityEconomyEmploymentLamar


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