- Associated Press - Monday, August 17, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Leonard Schmautz doesn’t use nine decades as an excuse to slow down and the word “retirement” appears to be lacking from his vocabulary. Work ethic does define him, however.

For 32 years, he has faithfully worked at least 30 hours per week with few interruptions at the Beer Plaza Depot in Bismarck. He is still working five days a week. Before that, he owned and was a bartender at the Mirror Bar in Mandan for 30 years, the Bismarck Tribune (https://bit.ly/1IX7XZH ) reported.

Late last month, owners Susan and Tim Pudwill held a 90th birthday party for Schmautz to honor him for all his hard work. Cupcakes iced with the number 90 were served to friends, customers and well-wishers.

“He’s just a non-stop worker. He never wants days off. He’s the most dependable, reliable, loyal person you would ever meet. There just aren’t people like Leonard. There just aren’t,” said Susan Pudwill, co-owner of the business for 34 years. “We can count on him for everything.”

She added Schmautz often arrives as early as 7 a.m. to get started. Before Sunday openings were allowed for liquor stores in Bismarck, he was known to work while the store was closed.

His duties are not a token job for a senior citizen. Schmautz manages the store, pays bills and orders supplies. Pudwill notes most tasks are still done manually in the store and items are not scanned for their UPC code.

Schmautz, who doesn’t own a TV or a recliner, said work is the natural thing for him to do and he enjoys it.

“You’ve got to have something to do. You meet a lot of people. I work with some good people, some good bosses,” said Schmautz, who adds he doesn’t feel like he is 90 and that the job simply takes common sense.

The job is more than making sales. Sometimes, he is just an ear for customers about their day and problems.

He has seen changes with time - particularly with the types of drinks customers prefer.

“Years ago, we used to have plain whiskies. Now, you have flavored whiskies and flavored schnapps, flavored vodka. Years ago, it used to be peppermint schnapps, plain vodka and different kinds of beer. Everything is flavored.”

He orders them all so the store stays stocked.

“Nowadays, these tills do everything for you. You never seen a debit card. It was cash and check only,” said Schmautz, who adds that he has seen two or three generations of families come to the store.

Co-worker Marty Pitzer, 70, said he has known Schmautz for 60 years as they lived near one another and are both old-time bartenders.

“There is no sit down. Even though I am 20 years younger than he is, it’s hard to keep up with him. He’s got his ways of doing things. You basically work to do things the way he does,” Pitzer said.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com

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