CUBA CITY—On his 21st birthday, Rich Ambs purchased his own business. Forty years later, Rich’s Petro Stop continues to be a prominent business in downtown Cuba City. Ambs celebrated the milestone anniversary on Dec. 1.
“I was working across the street at Oak Station,” Ambs said. “I worked there right out of high school. Ernie Tindell had the station at that time and he was looking to get out.”
Ambs said Molo Oil of Dubuque owned Tindell’s gas station at the time and Ambs started by renting from Molo Oil as well. In 1991, Ambs officially purchased the property of Rich’s Petro.
“A lot has changed in the car industry because everything is computerized now,” Ambs said. “Engines used to be simple and very easy to work on. At that time we had full service gas. We pumped the gas for everybody. We didn’t switch over to self service until 1991 when I bought it and did some upgrades.”
His wife, Lynda, helped at the business by working as a cashier. He said his two sons didn’t have an interest in being a mechanic.
“I like what I do,” Ambs said. “It’s nice when someone has a problem and you can fix it on their car. I get real good satisfaction knowing that I can help someone with their problem. I hear from a lot of the older people that they don’t know what they’re ever going to do if I quit.”
Ambs’ business offers general repairs, tires and fuel. He has four employees. He grew up in Cuba City. His dad used to work at John Deere and his mom retired from Cardin’s Pharmacy.