What was intended to be just “a one-year try,” has now lasted over 30 years.
When Chris Haslem and her late husband R.L. moved down from Ely to operate the R-Place gas station, mini-store and fast food across from the Ash Springs Hot Springs, that’s what they thought it might be, just a one-year try.
However, the popular stop for truckers and travelers along U.S. Highway 93 has done a very good business for the local economy and the owners, Reed Incorporated of Ely. It’s reputation has become known all over the U.S.
The Haslems were hired to take over a small store and gas station and the old Oasis restaurant Don Reed had purchased in 1980 from Joe and Virginia Little.
Chris was born and raised in Ely, and R.L., who passed away in 2005, moved from Monroe, Utah to McGill about 1944. He married Chris in 1947. They raised five sons.
R.L. operated a gas station in McGill, and Chris worked in a grocery store in Ely.
In 1981, Reed, a long time friend of the Haslems, offered them a job managing his new property at Ash Springs. “The building today is about the same size as then,” Chris says, “but it had a sporting goods store on the south end. They sold guns and ammunition. That part was closed about 1988, and now is one the of storage rooms.”
In the early years, R-Place was a Shell station. Later it changed to Sinclair, then Texaco, and in 2003 back to Shell, as it is now.
The Oasis restaurant, located where the picnic area and old gas station canopy are now, was an old building, that was in such disrepair it was finally torn down in the early ‘90s.
Today, R-Place at Ash Springs is managed by Rogon Haslem, Chris and R.L.’s second oldest son. He says “quality customer service” displayed by his parents is what has made the business prosper for so many years.”
Rogon, who holds a Bachelors in Business, and Masters in Business Education from UNR, worked for Sierra Pacific Power in the market research and customer service department for 13 years, came to the store in 2011, and became manager in 2012.
Since then, and with the semi-retirement of his mother, he said he has made some changes to the inventory, some changes to the store layout, and implemented what he felt were more business like policies and procedures. “It has made us a more profitable and more inventory-controlled store,” he said.
One constant that remains from the time Chris and R.L. began running the store, “It’s almost like an oasis,” Rogon says, “People know they can stop here 24/7. Whether they plan on stopping or not, they know it’s going to be open. We continue to be successful because we’re in the right location, at the right place, at the right time.”
And, if all things remain the same, it always will be.