A Family History
Four generations of Schuler’s have owned and operated the Schuler’ Restaurants over a span of 102 years.
It all began when Albert Schuler, Sr. opened a combination cigar store/restaurant in 1909 in Marshall, Michigan. Several years later, he purchased the Royal Hotel and Restaurant in Marshall and began his successful streak as a restaurateur. Ten years later, his son Win returned from Albion College to run the twenty seat restaurant. Win soon expanded the space by adding more rooms and a bowling alley. After returning from World War II, Win continued the expansion by changing the bowling alley into a dining area.
With the onset of the 1950’s, Win introduced a cheese spread for guests to enjoy at their table and in the bar, known as Schuler’s Bar Scheeze. The company began growing by leaps and bounds with the opening of Schuler’s in Jackson, Michigan in 1952 and the opening of Schuler’s in Saint Joseph in 1954.
Hans Schuler, Win’s son, graduated from Michigan State University in 1959 and joined the family business, operating the Bar Scheeze plant and butcher shop in Marshall. The company transforms as the Jackson Schuler’s gets a new home and the St. Joseph restaurant tragically burns to the ground in 1963. By 1965 however, a new Schuler’s is opened in Stevensville. The Bar-Scheeze business booms as it hits the supermarket shelves in 1968, a new Bar-Scheeze plant is completed and Hans Schuler becomes President of Win Schuler, Inc.
In 1967, hotel rooms at the historic Schuler’s of Marshall become corporate offices and the site is proclaimed a Michigan Historical Site. More renovating and expansion continues at this site in 1982 as Larry, Han’s son, graduates from Albion College and pursues a position with Mondavi Winery in California.
In 1982, Win Schuler Foods is sold to Vlasic Foods, Inc., and Win Schuler retires as Chairman of the Board, leaving Hans to man the helm. The corporate name changes to Schuler’s Inc., and Larry joins the team as the company celebrates its 75th Anniversary in 1984. By 1989, Larry is promoted to Vice President of Schuler’s Inc., and the company opens Schu’s Grill & Bar in quaint St. Joseph, Michigan. Schuler’s of Stevensville undergoes major renovations in 1991.
In 1990, Larry becomes an independent restaurant owner by buying Schuler’s Inc’s, and opens Schu’s Grill & Bar and forms Schu’s Restaurant Inc. In 1995, Larry forms a nonprofit organization, West Michigan Athletic Ventures, Inc., that holds the area’s first ever International event, the Schu’s International Triathlon, televised on both ESPN and Prime Networks. In its second year, this internationally recognized race was joined by Whirlpool Home appliances as the title sponsor and the event carried a $30,000 purse for which 700 amateur athletes and 60 of the world’s top male and female pros vied for the U.S. Pro Championship.
With the fourth generation and over 100 years of serving customers, the Schuler family continues to make appropriate adjustments to accommodate the ever changing marketplace. In the fall of 2003, the decision to close the Stevensville property was made. The Marshall restaurant continues to be a very successful endeavor. In keeping with the desires of the customers, the casual, fun ambiance at Schu’s Grill and Bar along with its refreshingly contemporary bill of fare and libations is now Larry Schuler’s focus. Weather permitting, the patio offers a fabulous al fresco experience.
Last, but certainly not least, it is a family affair with Larry and wife Christa Schuler. All three of Larry’s children, Jenna, Kaitlin, Rob, Paige and Taylor have all worked at Schu’s Grill and Bar. And with a tradition running deep within the Schuler family, it’s not without reason to expect the fifth generation to begin to step in soon.