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Randy's Olde Towne Service

Anyone who remembers when Randy’s Olde Towne Service was called Crandall’s Super Service will tell you: You simply cannot talk about the historic gas station without also speaking about its longtime owner.
In fact, memories of Curley Crandall, who died in August 1995, seem to be everywhere in the beautifully preserved building located on the corner of Eighth and Union Streets in Traverse City, Mich. Need tangible evidence? Look no further than one of the doors, where the metal portion along the bottom is concave from all the times Curley kicked it open to rush out and pump gas for a customer.

“We left that because we thought it was a pretty neat reminder of Curley,” said owner Randy Schmerheim, who purchased the station from Crandall in the early 1990s. “He was always quick to help people. To him, it was more about the people than anything else. He didn’t call it ‘Super Service’ for nothing.”
Schmerheim saw Crandall’s love for his customers first hand, as a competitor and later as his employer. Schmerheim and Crandall owned neighboring businesses in the late 1980s; Schmerheim ran a Shell station across the street from Crandall’s Mobil. When Crandall decided to shut down his fuel pumps in 1992, he leased his building to Schmerheim and then began working for him – pumping gas, of course. “He wanted to work for nothing, but I just couldn’t do that,” Schmerheim said. “He enjoyed staying busy. I offered to let him work just a few hours a week, but he was there every morning. You could set your clock to him.”
In addition to selling gasoline, Crandall’s Super Service offered “Washing, Greasing, Batteries, Tires’’ – it still says so, right there above the three large, roll-up garage doors, just as it has for 75 years. But the station’s most important asset was Curley. His daughters thought they knew why, but after his death they learned more reasons he was so beloved.
“People told us a lot of stories,” Nancy said. “If you didn’t have money for gas, Dad would say, ‘We can settle up on payday.’ When the migrant workers were ready to go south, he wouldn’t let them drive away on bad tires. He’d make sure they were safe. He carried people on credit without anything more than a handshake. Not even an IOU. And he never told anyone this stuff. He just did it because he thought it was the right thing to do. He was a pretty neat guy.”

In 1987, Curley’s station was named to the State Register of Historic Places. The citizens of Traverse City, Mich.
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