Exceptional Retailer: The Gas Station




This husband-wife team has already been successful in the smoke shop and tattoo businesses, now they’re trying a new and unique business — reviving the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” gas station.

We should all be as good at following our dreams as Roy and Lisa Rose.

Over the past 12 years, the Roses have built themselves and their families an empire of cool businesses: A chain of Ohio smoke shops. A tattoo supply wholesale business. And now the coolest of them all: The gas station from the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” movie that they’ve turned into a tourist attraction.

“Whatever it is,” Lisa Rose says, “If we can get, let’s get it. If we can do it, let’s do it.”

It’s a philosophy that’s worked out well for the Roses thus far. And now, even better than before — with their latest venture getting national headlines from the likes of TMZ, Rolling Stone, Yahoo News and various other publications.

They call it simply The Gas Station and it represents a lifelong dream for Roy Rose. They bought the property earlier this year, renovated it and have worked hard to put their plan in action. It’s a tourist attraction for horror movie fans with cabins that can be rented out. There’s a shop that sells old horror movie memorabilia. There’s an entertainment space where they can concerts and events. There’s also a barbecue restaurant that recently opened. The hope it will attract people from all over the country and even some internationally.

“It’s so much fun,” Lisa Rose says. “Everything that we enjoy we put in there so people can enjoy it with us.”

Everything the Roses have done, believe it or not, starts with the smoke shops. Together, they own The Glass House, a leading Cleveland shop that has eight locations around Ohio, plus a 10,000-square-foot warehouse. The first location opened in 2004.

“He had friends who were glass blowers,” Lisa Rose says of her husband. “He just liked the culture and started selling all their glass. There was glass blowing in the back room. It was more of a place for him to hang out with the people and things that he liked.”

It’s not a bad way to make a living if you can manage it. And the Roses were aggressive with their growth plans. They added locations every 6-12 months, each further out into Ohio, until they’d built quite a chain.

At one point, they bought a glass supply shop that sold to the artists in the area when it was going out of business. They did the same when a tattoo shop two doors down from their smoke shop was losing its tattoo license. The Roses bought all their supplies, which led to another venture.

They started Monster Tattoo and Supply in 2006, selling tattoo supplies to artists locally, around Ohio and in other states. It’s another example of how the Roses have seized opportunities in front of them and turned them into sustained, long-term businesses.

“Any business opportunity that he likes,” Lisa says of her husband. “He’ll take it.”

Roy worked a variety of jobs before starting his own business. Lisa spent 10 years working at a newspaper until she left to work full-time with her husband.

“He’s the one with all the ideas. I’m the one who makes it happen,” she says. “That’s why I tell him we make a good team.”

The “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” gas station is their boldest endeavor yet. You see, Roy loved the movie when he was younger. He came from very humble means and on his 10th birthday, his party was renting a VCR and watching “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” with his family and friends. Since then, it’s been his favorite.

Four years ago, Roy had an idea: He called the woman who owned the property and asked if she wanted to sell. She didn’t. But this April — on Roy’s 40th birthday, in fact — he got the call he’d been waiting for. She wanted to sell the property to him.

He and Lisa flew to Texas from Ohio and made the purchase. A few months later, they loaded their kids and dogs into an RV and moved halfway across the country to Texas to start another chapter. They kept their businesses in Ohio. They can do what they need remotely and have long-tenured employees and family members who can handle the day-to-day, hands-on operations.

“It’s awesome,” Lisa Rose says. “I personally am not a risk-taker like that, but with him, it’s fun. It’s scary at first, but he just loves people and actors and rock stars. He loves that whole environment. And the horror fans are the best. They have so much fun.”

They took over the gas station — which is located in Bastrop, Tx., not too far outside of Austin — with a vision of updating it and turning it into something like a horror-themed campsite. They spend a lot of time upgrading the gas station itself and the cabins. The Gas Station opened in September and they already have guests booked for immediate events and international guests with dates scheduled for next year.

“It was so run down,” Lisa Rose says. “He wanted to save it. Because if the owners still had it, it would have been torn down a year from now. We preserved it as best we could.”

They’ve already booked actors from the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” movies to come for appearances and they’re working on a horror festival too. And true to their smoke-shop roots, they’ve already opened another shop in Bastrop. It’s called Mr. Fun’s.

For Roy Rose, a man who has spent the past 15 years making his passions his professions, he might have found the best one now. He’s gone from smoke shops to tattoos to horror-movie tourist attractions.

“He loves it,” Lisa says. “Are you kidding? He’s like a little kid.”


The Gas Station
1073 Highway 304
Bastrop, TX

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