A beautiful Traverse City auto repair shop is stationed in time.
It was October 1987 when Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine featured Traverse City’s iconic Crandall’s Super Service gas station. The Michigan Bureau of History had recently designated the station as a historic landmark.
Traverse writer Tim Penning noted that not much had changed at Crandall’s since the time when a gas station was considered a new idea. “The cars come in different styles now and the pumps offer more varieties of gasoline, but the building remains the same,” Penning wrote in ’87.
Today, memories of 72-year-old Deronda “Curly” Crandall can be found throughout the art deco building and tiling, now home to Randy’s Olde Towne Service. The original lettering spelling out “washing,” “greasing,” “batteries” and “tires” still hangs above the garage doors. And on one of the shop’s doors, the metal portion along the bottom is concave from all the times Crandall kicked it open to pump gas for a customer.
In 1987, Crandall was no longer running the station, but he was still pumping gas and greeting customers the same way he did in 1936. Crandall and his brother Max began leasing the station in the 1930s, and in 1960, after Max went into business for himself, Crandall bought the station—marking the start of Crandall’s Super Service. “I know most of the people who come in here,” Crandall told Traverse in ’87. “A lot of them are customers who have been coming here for years. Some come in to see me, I think, and they still call me by name.”
Crandall passed away in August 1995. He sold the station in the early 1990s to Randy Schmerheim, a former competitor who ran the Shell station across the street from Crandall’s, and today, the building at the corner of Eighth and Union Street is home to Randy’s Olde Towne Service. Randy’s shop specializes in an array of auto diagnostics, repair and maintenance services. But beyond that, Randy offers patrons something truly unique—the opportunity to take a step back in time.