Robert Himmelstein, owner of the big red Fort Brewery bus parked in the Sea Grape Plaza gave us a tour of the unique vehicle Saturday. He also gave us an update on his plans to convert the old bank building into a furniture store. Watch the video HERE.
Robert purchased the bus in an auction for $191,000 and had it trailered to Fort Myers Beach. What’s next for this unique vehicle? Here’s what we found out…
Robert owns the old bank building in front of the Sea Grape Plaza that was so close to opening as a new furniture store when Hurricane Ian changed everyone’s plans on the island. The furniture store is still in the works, the building was below FEMA’s 50% rule.
So why the big red bus?
Turns out Robert sold furniture to the brewery listed on the bus, which is in Texas, and four of their barbecue restaurants. The bus was originally operated in London and was brought to the United States for tours. Robert tells us that the bus was repurposed to be a flag ship vehicle for Zume Pizza. “The owner of the Brewery is friends with the guy that started Zume. Zume had rebuilt the bus and had an NDA signed on the cost being spent that ran into the millions. The brewery was selling the bus and we thought it would sell for over a million dollars. I was watching how low the bidding was and we started bidding on it.” And, just like that $191,000 later Robert and his wife are the proud owners of a big red double-decker bus that, right now, they have no idea what they plan to do with.
So far they’ve reached out to Charro brothers to see if they can work something out to provide pizza. And, the brewery is willing to do a franchise with them
This Saturday morning at 7:30AM we’re getting a walkaround tour of the bus.
As an aside Robert’s mom and dad have been coming to Fort Myers Beach since 1976 and bought their first property at Palms of Bay Beach. Robert tells Beach Talk Radio News they still own the property and it’s always been their favorite. “They celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this past August. I would assume that’s probably the oldest wedding anniversary on Fort Myers Beach. I remember the swing bridge and the stone arches. I met my wife here in 1996 in-front of the Holiday Inn. We love FMB.”