Since 1963, those living in or passing through Shawnee could get their gas pumped for them at Bunk's.
With new regulations in place, owner Jimmy Fincher has to replace the tanks. Because of this, he has decided to stop selling gas as of April 28.
“It wasn’t the money,” Fincher said. “We have six grandchildren and it’s time that we start spending more time with them.”
One of the hardest parts of this decision to stop selling gas was all of the people the Fincher family has helped along the way.
“We have several repeat customers who have turned into friends through the gas business,” Fincher said. “The older ladies depended on us to pump their gas. That was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make.”
With all the friends made over the years, many of them still come by to visit even if they don’t need gas.
“We still have people that come by and visit even when they don’t need anything. In the mornings, people will come by, drink a cup of coffee and talk. It’s neat to hear the stories they share,” Fincher said. “My dad had a great philosophy. He said, ‘as soon as they pull up in the driveway, you treat them like a king.’” One of the biggest differences Fincher noticed over the years was the weekends were not as busy.
“Farmers would come to town on Saturdays. Now they come to town every day. That used to be one of our biggest days. Also, when everything shifted to north of town, people used to stop on their way to go shopping on Main Street.”
Customers remember Bunk’s...
One Shawnee resident recalls spending quality time on the bench out front of Bunk’s.
“My dad, Bud Davis, used to work there part-time,” Janet Davis-Brown said. “I remember going there and dad let us sit and watch, but I loved going and just listening to the people talk to dad as he worked. Dad was also friends with the owners so we visited them a lot. They had a tow truck and the joke was if you ate too much dinner, we used to say call Bunk’s tow truck to help us up.”
Over the years Bunk’s also gave many Shawnee residents a job.
“I worked there in the late 1960’s. Bunk used to do cleaning for company vehicles. I was one tasked with that. When completed, he would inspect windshields for streaks like a Marine boot camp sergeant with white gloves.”
For those who worked for the Fincher family, Bunk’s was a great place to work.
“I worked at Bunk’s in the 80’s during the summer slinging ice and pumping gas,” Slate Farris said. “Those were good times. They used to call me the Dude. I guess it’s probably because I always said dude before starting a sentence.”
Bunk’s was the first job for many young Shawnee residents, including Farris.
“I lived in the apartments directly behind Bunk’s,” Farris said. In 1984, my mom said I needed a job so I went to Bunk’s and they hired on the spot. They said be here at 6 a.m. the next day. In the morning I worked on the ice truck. In the afternoons I came back after lunch and pumped gas, checked oil and served customers. The entire family treated me like one of their own. It was a great place to work for those two years.”
The customer service received at Bunk’s went above and beyond expectations of patrons.
“Jimmy is known in my family as our ‘car savior.’ Recently my 86-year-old mom and I were getting gas and we thanked him for always being there for us,” Melody Licklider said. “He told us that he promised my dad (who passed away 3 years ago) that he’d take care of her. Brought us to tears.”
Bunk’s will remain open offering many of the same services, including the wrecker service and used cars for sale, Fincher said.