An early photo of Rock Port Oil Co. with the original, unknown owner is shown above. John Graf acquired the business in the late 1920s in a trade exchanging the oil company for his farm in Nebraska. The Grafs were at the helm until 1950 when the Bunton family acquired Rock Port Oil. Bill Bunton took over management in January 1978.
Since the early 1900s, gasoline has been sold on the corner of Main and Calhoun streets in Rock Port. The end of that era was on August 8, 2018, when Bar-Tran was sold to Energy Transport Solutions (ETS), and Rock Port Oil sold its petroleum distributorship and farm tank wagon services to MFA Oil.
Eric Kolkmeyer, owner of Energy Transport Solutions, purchased Bar-Tran from the Buntons, which includes permits, customer base and the truck assets from Bar-Tran. Kolkmeyer said they retained all of the drivers on staff at Bar-Tran and they were happy the drivers agreed to continue on staff with ETS.
“It was important to us that we retain the current drivers; we were very happy that they agreed to continue working with us,” Eric said.
ETS will operate with staff and Bill Bunton as manager at the current location. Eric said that he is very grateful for Bill’s mentorship and guidance throughout the process of obtaining the business.
Easing the transition is also the fact that ETS is a very similar business to Bar-Tran. ETS supplies transportation services for retail, agricultural and industrial customers. ETS specializes in transporting bulk liquids such as propane, refined fuels, anhydrous ammonia, liquid fertilizer and other bulk liquids throughout the Midwest United States.
ETS is a third generation, family-owned business that began in 1955. The main office is located in Bates City, Missouri. They currently operate with 11 trucks around the Bates City location. Many of the routes that ETS and Bar-Tran serve overlap, so the purchase of the business fit into the services that ETS was already providing and is giving them the opportunity to expand their customer base.
“We bought it because we serve a similar area, so it is a good fit. We have many customers in St. Joseph and Maryville but this gives us the opportunity to serve more customers in the I-29 corridor,” Kolkmeyer explained.
Eric also added that he feels the ETS family will fit in well in Rock Port.
“We bring small town values with us because we have the same strong, community mentality.”
If people would like to learn more about ETS, visit the website at www.etsmo.com.
MFA Oil purchased from Rock Port Oil the petroleum distributorship and the farm tank wagon services. Maintaining the same quality of service to the farming community was important to the Buntons.
“Since 1950 when our parents purchased Rock Port Oil, our family has been honored with the privilege to serve Northwest Missouri. I am confident this transition will meet the needs of our community while upholding the same level of service and commitment to our customers,” Bill Bunton said.
“On behalf of the entire staff at MFA Oil, we sincerely appreciate the opportunity we have been given to service you. Our goal is to make the transition as seamless as possible. We are committed to carrying on the tradition of service that you have enjoyed for decades,” said MFA Oil President and CEO Mark Fenner. For tank wagon services, contact the MFA Oil office in Mound City, Missouri, at 660-442-3900.
The service station at the Main Street location in Rock Port remains open and operational as it has in the past. Fuel will not be sold at this location. For tire and service work appointments, call 660-744-2411.