'June 16 marks 75 years that Navasota LP-Gas Co. has provided liquid petroleum services to Grimes and surrounding counties. Owner Chad Ross continues the three generation legacy begun by his grandfather Norman Bounds, and carried forward by his father Bob Ross. The reason for this longevity is best summed up by the company’s ability to meet the needs of 4,000-plus customers, and its work ethic.
Ross said, “Over the years lots of things have changed, regulations have changed, and we’ve been able to stay up with all of that. We’ve had a pretty much spotless safety records in 75 years. There’s a lot more competition now than there was when I first started and we’ve been able to hold our own because of the service we provide.”
He continued, “My grandad was always busy, whether it was here or at his place. My dad was the same way. It was a work ethic I grew up with…that to get to where you want to be, you’ve got to adapt to the changes, which we have down here, and you keep working.”
All three generations have been active on the board of the Texas Propane Gas Association (TPGA), and in the early 2000s, even lobbied for regulation changes within the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) which governs the LP gas industry.
Ross said, “We’re a very overregulated industry but it’s kept this industry in this state pretty safe. Therefore, there are not many accidents that happen.”
Ross said that all of his employees have the required Hazmat, Department of Transportation, and RRC certifications and attend continuing education classes.
He said, “It’s a lot to do what we do. We’ve been able to maintain all the customers we’ve got and there’s only six of us.”
Grimes County has changed significantly since 1946 when the company was formed.
Ross said, “More people are moving out of the city and into the rural area. All of these big farms and ranches that use to be around here, they’re being sold off. New little subdivisions are everywhere. We’re still providing fuel to those lands whether it’s farm or ranch but now it’s from a different perspective because it’s to take care of your home and keep you comfortable.”
A change since 2000 is the increase in home generator use. While Navasota LP-Gas Co. doesn’t sell generators, they provide the propane to run them.
Ross said, “There are more homes being built nowadays either all-electric with a standby generator, or that generator is their backup electricity if they have gas heat, water, cooking, dryer, fireplaces and outdoor kitchens. If their power goes out, they can still function like they do on a daily basis because they have a backup generator. We’ve seen a tremendous increase in the generator business.”
In this century alone, Navasota LP-Gas Co. has withstood Hurricane Ike, a pandemic, and the “Texas Freeze.”
Recalling Navasota’s week without electricity in 2008 during Ike, Ross said his mom, dad and longtime employee Gail Finke moved a desk into the shop, plugged in a portable generator, a computer, and thanks to their landline, were able to service customers by filling cylinders and delivering to those with generators.
The industry, however, is still feeling the impact of the 2020 pandemic.
Ross said, “The propane tanks we install at customer homes, since the first of the year, have gone up almost 40-50% and it’s very hard to get them. We can place an order for a load of tanks and it’s almost 17 weeks before we get them. Barbecue cylinders have been on backorder since February. We’ve had people come as far away as Huntsville, Houston, and Hearne looking for those cylinders because there are none around.”
Navasota LP-Gas Co. was in better shape during the February freeze than other industry suppliers. Ross said they were able to provide gas for several days. While they couldn’t get trucks on the road, they filled containers for people as far away as Conroe, the north side of Houston and Hearne.
He said, “We still do so much of our stuff old school. We can still load our trucks the old-fashioned way. We don’t rely on all of the electronic gadgets which a lot of companies have tried to stay up with over the course of the years.”
Enjoy what you do
Ross enjoys the camaraderie and sense of family at Navasota LP-Gas Co.
He said, “As a little kid, I thought it was the neatest thing to get on one of those big trucks to go with my dad or my granddad to go do something.”
Ross worked in the family business while in high school and began fulltime in 1987, obtaining his certifications that same year. Bob took the reins in 1971 with Chad’s mother Annie by his side, and the mantle passed to Chad after his mother died in October 2019 followed by his father in March 2020.
He said, “I miss my dad and grandad every day, and not be able to walk in here and talk to them, it’s tough. Not being able to bounce ideas off them, it’s tough.”
Ross continued, “With both of them passing, it required me to be here in the office more. I used to do all the service work, getting out and meeting the customers. It’s a little different. I miss the interaction of being out in the field.”
Ross credits his knowledge and skills to his grandfather, his father, and the many long-term Navasota LP-Gas employees.
He said, “Their loyalty to the company and to me speaks volumes. We enjoy coming to work. We made it fun. If you can’t enjoy what you do, you might as well get out and do something different.”'
'"At the intersection of the town’s two major thoroughfares, Washington Avenue and La Salle Street, keen-eyed visitors to downtown Navasota may notice a colorful logo included on a sign mounted onto the wall of Dr. Donna Canney’s building.
'Train Town USA,' the sign proclaims, juxtaposing images of classic steam and diesel locomotives on either side of the Union Pacific Railroad logo. In 2012, when the company celebrated its 150th anniversary, it began the 'Train-Town' program, and Navasota was one of the first locales in Texas to be so honored. 'The railroad is the main reason Navasota is here,' town mayor Bert Miller told the Houston Chronicle newspaper in a 2012 article entitled, “Navasota: The Town That Trains Built.” Miller is still mayor of the Grimes County community, and the trains still keep passing through his town, as many as 30 times a day.
Adjacent to the Union Pacific tracks which bisect Navasota’s Historic Downtown District — listed on the National Register of Public Places — is the old cotton gin that is the current Navasota residence of Bryan real estate developer Zane Anderson. In restoring the 10th Street building, Anderson refreshed the sign that was painted along the side of the structure facing the railroad tracks.
Once again, the sign proudly proclaims in all caps: 'NAVASOTA COTTON.'
Just five years after Navasota was founded in 1854, the Houston and Central Texas Railway extended a line of track into the fledgling town. An offer was first made to build the line through nearby Washington, the birthplace of Texas, but leaders there declined the opportunity. Soon, Navasota became a bustling boomtown, loading raw — and eventually processed — cotton and its byproducts onto train after train after train. From that point, Washington, despite its historic importance, never stood a chance of competing with its nearby municipal rival.
As for the 'chicken-and-egg' element of this story, cotton came to the Navasota area long before the train. Cotton was introduced to Texas by Spanish missionaries and then embraced by white settlers who, over time, took up the plantation-style business model of the Deep South. Thus, with a perceived need to preserve the slave labor force which drove cotton production on Texas plantations, the Lone Star State rebelled against “Northern aggression' and fought on the side of the Confederacy during the Civil War.
After the war, the influx of vanquished Confederate soldiers searching to resurrect their old agrarian ways in Central Texas, coupled with the presence of newly liberated slaves freed from the area’s existing plantations, triggered an outbreak of violence and lawlessness from which Navasota increasingly suffered for the next several decades. Railroad Street became the hub of much of the town’s infamy and vice.
Today, Railroad Street is the site of public and private redevelopment efforts looking to restore a block-long stretch of historic buildings in the downtown area. Zane Anderson is redeveloping the south end of the block, while in the middle, Houston attorney Steve Scheve and his wife Janice are in the midst of an ambitious four-year restoration of the P.A. Smith Hotel, once known as the 'jewel of Navasota.'
Train Town USA is again a city on the rise, and when The Smith reopens its doors — the Scheves are hoping for a late-summer launch — Navasota’s long familiar railway traffic will be there right outside the hotel’s main entrance to both welcome and bedazzle onlookers.
Pattie Pederson has had a front-row seat for her town’s revival along the Union Pacific line. She owns The Gallery Downtown, an art gallery in Navasota, just a stone’s throw from The Smith, and also serves as a Navasota city councilwoman.
'I am so thankful to all of the people that have given their love, time, money, and trust to restore Navasota’s charm,' Pederson says. 'Our once sleepy little downtown is waking up, and the historic Railroad District is making history again!' "
**Click here to read the full magazine article.
Storyteller Tim Gregg is a former award-winning radio sportscaster and public relations director on the Virginia Slims World Championship women’s tennis series, and a long-time marketing communications consultant. He is the author of 10 books, including RELLIS Recollections and Embracing The Cross, the life story of retired Bryan judge Travis Bryan III. Tim and his wife, Nancy, live in College Station.
Over the last year, Dr. Justin Bullock’s capstone class at The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University has worked with the City of Navasota to produce an amazing report highlighting the City’s Capital Improvement Projects.
The team, including Crayton Brubaker, Jim Engelke, Lindsey Gonzalez, Julie Koerner, and Alicia Ortman, created a detailed project, showing the last 15 years of infrastructure improvements in Navasota. The report and map show where and what type of projects took place, including road & bridge construction, water & wastewater projects, gas improvements, beautification & revitalization, and drainage and flood mitigation.
Once again, amazing job to the team, and thank you for your incredible work! If you want a copy of the pamphlet or report, please visit Navasota City Hall. #SoMuchSoClose #Navasota #EconDevWeek #EDW2021
In honor of Economic Development Week (May 9-15), Navasota is excited to welcome two new businesses to the community, Nava Nutrition and Blackberry & Honeysuckle. Located in central Navasota, both businesses are set to open later this summer.
Blackberry & Honeysuckle will be located on 102 E. Washington Avenue in Downtown Navasota. The store features custom, curated gift boxes that can be gifted for several occasions such as baby showers, Mother’s Day presents, bridesmaid surprises, and birthday gifts. All gift boxes include a complimentary handwritten note card, sealed with their wax seal. For more information on when Blackberry & Honeysuckle will be opening their new retail space, visit them on Facebook or Instagram.
Nava Nutrition is a new smoothie and juice bar locating at 415 N LaSalle Street. The shop will focus on healthy alternatives such as healthy shakes, energizing drinks and teas, protein coffee and much more. Having a more modern and rustic look, Nava Nutrition will also serve as a local hangout location, providing free WiFi and a comfortable set up for their patrons. For updates on Nava Nutrition’s opening date, you can check them out on Facebook or Instagram.
Stay tuned this week for more exciting announcements and things happening in Navasota! #SoMuchSoClose #EconDevWeek #EDW2021
"Thanks to people of vision and those with jackhammers, cement trucks and electric saws, Navasota’s historic Railroad Street is being reborn. One new occupant who was able to see past the construction rubble to bring another element of charm to Navasota’s quaint downtown is Tanya Ingram. Ingram’s Southern Charm Boutique and Salon at 119 S. Railroad opened in early 2021 and her vision is paying off.
It was in 2019 when Ingram closed her Montgomery salon to relocate to Navasota. The move would allow the Navasota resident more time with her children who are very involved in Navasota school activities, but finding a location was more difficult than anticipated.
Ingram said, “We actually started the process here in December 2019. It seemed like every door would shut. We couldn’t find buildings available that were what we wanted. Then Covid hit. It was kind of a blessing in disguise that we didn’t open the shop back then.”
While Ingram’s husband wasn’t opposed to the idea, he had some reservations which weren’t helped by the image of busted concrete, dirt streets and businesses cordoned off behind barricades and chain link fencing.
Ingram said, “Believe it or not, my husband didn’t see my vision. When he saw the road and the building, he was a little standoffish. I saw it in my heart, my soul, my mind and I knew.”
As Ingram stood there pondering the building’s potential, as if by divine intervention, a stranger started a conversation. Ingram said, “Ana from the Examiner walked by while I was looking at it. She told me all about the Railroad District and what was coming. That was the very moment I knew this was what we were doing and where we were going to be.”
Read the full article on the Navasota Examiner.
The Navasota Economic Development Corporation and the City of Navasota are very excited to announce the launch of our new Navasota EDC website! From information on healthcare, housing, and education to workforce data and much more, the NavasotaEDC.com can provide you with all you’d want to know about what is going on in our community. #Navasota #SoMuchSoClose
In Spring 2021 the Navasota Independent School District was excited to host a grand opening for their brand new outdoor athletic complex. With the help of Goodwin-Lasiter-Strong and Hellas Construction, Inc., and the support of the School Board and Navasota ISD Administration, the district was able to provide major upgrades and renovations. These updates include a multipurpose Matrix Helix game field, an epIQ track, TPS tennis courts, and Major Play baseball and softball fields, in addition to awnings, concession stands, restrooms, LED lighting, and an elevator to the press box.
Author: Alex Miller, The Eagle
"Greg Mallett started cooking blueberry muffins when he was just 4 years old. Now he’s the owner of three barbecue restaurants in the Brazos Valley under the same name — Mallett Brothers Barbeque.
Greg and his brother Chad opened their first location in Navasota in June 2009. A second location was opened in Iola, their hometown, in 2011, and a third restaurant opened in Madisonville in 2017.
Consistency and customer service are of utmost priority at Mallett Brothers, Greg Mallett said.
“Every time a customer comes in, it should be the same every time,” Mallett said. “That’s kind of the hard thing in the barbecue industry. Brisket is the staple, so it’s one of the things that we have to make sure is perfect each time.”
Freshness is another key factor, Mallet noted. Pits are fired up each morning to make ribs and other meats. Chicken-fried steaks and onion rings are hand-battered.
“Everything that we do is hands-on, not out of the freezer,” Mallett said. “Everything’s fresh.”
The Texas barbecue classics including brisket, pork ribs and sausage are offered, along with chicken-fried steak sandwiches and jalapeno ranch burgers.
Read the entire article on The Eagle.
Author: Navasota Examiner
"The Motorcycle Grand Tour of Texas (MGT) will hit the open roads travelling the great state of Texas and a local attraction in Navasota will be one of its stops.
Classic Rock Coffee Co & Kitchen will be stop No. 27 of the tour that spans 50 destinations. The tour begins March 1 and ends Nov. 15. Motorcyclist register and pay a fee then document their journey to the 50 destinations with a photo of their motorcycle in front of each destination.
Other popular destinations include a stop at the largest pecan in Seguin, Luckenbach Post Office, Wimberly Boot and the Statue of Liberty in Hallettsville among many others.
Riders who are identified by a rally flag with a unique umber, rack up points for each tour destination they visit. If riders complete at least half of the total destinations by the Nov. 15 deadline, they are considered a tour finisher.
For further information visit motorcyclegrandtouroftexas.com."
"The team at Summit Precast Concrete, LLC joined Trey Kirby after closing on their new property located in the industrial district in Navasota. TX. Trey represented the buyers, Mr. and Mrs. Mike Ogorchock and their sons, Michael and Kris, and assisted them in closing this property to house their precast operation.
The location includes approx. 50k sf of warehouse, 4k sf office, and a concrete plant producing traffic barrier for the highway construction industry. Congrats to Summit Precast and the Ogorchock family on their latest acquisition. #Congrats! #NavasotaTX #SVNRiverstone"