Carl’s Haddonfield Service celebrated its 65th anniversary on June 9, an event attended by the staff, borough commissioners and the community.
“Sixty-five years is not lost on our community in terms of an impact,” said Mayor Colleen Bianco Bezich of the borough’s last full-service station. “This is something you don’t find often … Not only do George (current owner Dieser) and the guys always [serve] everybody with a smile, but it really at times is like a community center.
“You have people who come who want to talk about their cars, people who want to show off their cars, people who may be having a good or bad day, and without fail, everybody who works here has been able to put a smile on people’s face,” she added.
Carl’s Haddonfield Service was established by Carl Nieukirk in 1957, when he was 22 and there were more than a dozen full-service gas stations in the area. While there are other businesses providing both gas and automotive repair in Haddonfield, Carl’s is the last to do both in the same place.
Dieser has been with the company for more than 20 years and has seen many families grow up. Recalling how he started by pumping gas in the 1980s, Dieser said he gradually gained regular customers. Since he returned to the area in 2010 to become the third owner of Carl’s, he has served the children of those regulars.
“I love (working here),” he said. “I can’t wait to get here every day.”
Dieser noted how his business has adapted to changes. While Carl’s used to service mechanical cars, today’s vehicles feature more technology. In the old days, the first thing repairmen did was lift the hood; now, they can plug into a car to see what’s wrong. Dieser and his staff continue to learn so they can keep up.
Meanwhile, the owner attributes the success of Carl’s to its grassroots approach.
“We’re not a big corporation,” he noted. “We operate this sole location. All decisions are made here, the owner’s on site every day and just treating people correctly and repeat business …
“You don’t stay in this business for 65 years if you don’t do good by people.”