Service, chat always given at Schaar’s
By Mark Sherry
Mark Sherry photo
Bruce Schaar (right) and wife Mary continue to own Schaar’s Service Station in New Holstein, one of the few remaining full-service stations in the state. Jim Kraemer is their new employee, coming to Schaar’s from a very similar station he and his father used to own in the Newton area. At left is a photo of Schaar’s believed to be from the early 1950s when Bruce’s late father, Orville, was operating the station.

“We’re the barbershop of gas stations.”

Bruce Schaar’s comment is a pretty fitting summary of what daily life has been like for 60 years now at Schaar’s Service Station on Milwaukee Drive (STH 32/57) in New Holstein.

For starters, people do not go to a barbershop and cut their own hair. And at Schaar’s Service Station, people do not pull up to the gas pumps and pump their own gas. Either Schaar or his relatively new employee Jim Kraemer will be out there to do that, no matter what the weather.

But Schaar’s Service Station is also like the barbershop in that people just stop by, plop down in a chair in the small office and bend Schaar’s ear for a while. Sometimes they are former employees, men who retired years ago but still like stopping in from time to time to discuss the news of the day.

“You never know if what you hear is right, but you hear a lot,” Schaar said with a smile.

Sometimes the gas customers might be fueling up there just for the chatter, although Schaar said, “We still see a lot of younger girls and older ladies, or ladies with children.”

Schaar’s Service Station is a lot of things to a lot of people—a slice of Americana, a novelty, a convenience, a

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