comfortable place to stop and chat, or a reminder of a bygone era when every gas station was full service.
As of a year or two ago, Schaar said he still knew of some other full-service stations in Wisconsin, but he said he cannot say for sure if they are still around and certainly has not heard of any new ones starting up. He said he doubts the latter would happen as it would not make financial sense.
Like his dad Orville before him, however, Bruce makes Schaar’s Service Station work by also offering light maintenance service on vehicles in the station’s two-bay shop. Brake work and oil changes are a lot of what Schaar and Kraemer are doing these days. They also do a lot of tire repair and replacement, and have multiple brands to offer their customers.
Although Schaar’s is a small shop, they still have access to all the same parts suppliers as any other shop does, as well as next-day parts delivery like any other shop.
Schaar’s also does exhaust work and some light engine work. No matter what the job, Schaar said they try to get people in and out as fast as they can.
Being a small shop also does not stop Schaar’s Service from making improvements. In the past year it added an electronic gas price sign, replacing the longtime manual sign. That was welcome news for Bruce’s wife Mary, who
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said, “He doesn’t have to climb the ladder anymore.”
Also in the past year Schaar’s added an electronic scan tool which allows them to plug into newer model vehicles and obtain a diagnosis report on what might be wrong. The tool is almost a must-have for shops these days.
Schaar’s Service Station also continues to sell and service Husqvarna chain saws, with part-time employee Paul Fluhr helping with that. It also has sold propane for many years for use with grills, recreational vehicles, industry forklifts and even some vehicles which run on propane.
Helping to get all that done is Kraemer, who joined Schaar’s Service Station about eight months ago. He and his dad owned a similar shop in the Newton area for many years before selling it in 2006. That shop had a house attached to it just as Schaar’s does. Kraemer and Schaar agreed that the similarities between their two situations are remarkable. “It was like walking into my own shop,” Kraemer said about his first visit to Schaar’s.
“I was too young to retire and wanted to work,” he said. “Within the first two minutes of being here, I knew this was the place for me.”
A lot of people get that feeling when they stop in at Schaar’s, and they have been for 60 years now.
Mary Matsumoto photos