Earning a Bachelors Degree from Albion College in History, Win Schuler moved to Wakefield in the Upper Peninsula in 1930 and became an educator and football coach. Although, his official career as a teacher was short lived, his ability to coach and serve as a leader in the restaurant and tourism industry has proven timeless.
In 1934 Winston Schuler returned home to manage his father’s hotel and restaurant, alongside his brother, Albert Jr. In a short period of time Win created a nationally known institution in the Schuler name. He owned and operated nine restaurants across Michigan and one in Indiana. Maintaining his passion for Old English Inns, the restaurants were all adorned with old English relics preserving the best of that heritage for Schuler’s patrons to enjoy while dining.
Schuler, known for his graciousness as a host, was dubbed Michigan’s Host with the Most by Greater Guide Magazine in 1975, this title went hand in hand in Marshall, already known as the City of Hospitality. He received the Gold Plate Award in 1971 from the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association, the greatest distinction the industry has to offer.
Win was no stranger to hard work. He often worked fifteen hours a day, seven days a week. His motto was to serve good hearty food in a comfortable home-like atmosphere or better otherwise why would a guest want to come out to eat, he would often ask. He made it a point to greet his guests with a name and a smile, which proved to bring his patrons back time and again.
Schuler was an icon in the restaurant industry and also gave generously of his time and talents for various institutions. He served as general chair of Michigan Week in 1968, chairman of Michigan Day at the New York World’s Fair, chairman of the Calhoun County TB Christmas Seal program, chairman of the Governor’s Patron’s Dinner, state finance chairman of the Michigan Red Cross, Michigan Crusade chairman for the American Cancer Society, served as secretary of Starr Commonwealth, the school for disadvantaged boys in Albion, and president of the Greater Michigan Foundation the sponsor of Michigan Week. His goal in 1968 when he chaired the event was “to make Michigan the friendliest state in the union.”
Win Schuler was The Michigan Restaurant Association’s president in 1965, a role his grandson, Larry also fulfilled in 2002/2003.
Win Schuler through hard work and diligence became a well-respected business legend. He was known as an innovator in the industry as well. His Bar-Scheeze was a home-grown recipe that was marketed extensively to grocery stores in the Midwest. By using guest comments taken from comment cards, he continued to improve upon his thriving business. He made shareholders in the corporation out of his managers back in the 1960s and had a profit sharing program for his employees in those years.
He received numerous awards in the field of hospitality, including both a 25 silver plate and 50-year gold plate for his many years of service to the Michigan Restaurant Association.
Win Schuler’s became one of Michigan’s and the country’s top 50 U.S. Favorite Restaurants, as stated in the American Business Magazine in 1955.
In 1960 Schuler was inducted into the American Restaurant Hall of Fame, 1961 he received the Award of Appreciation from the National Restaurant Association, and in the 1962 publication of Duncan Hines Travel Book, Schuler’s was listed on the “Adventures in Good Eating” list.
1977 marked the 26th consecutive year in a row Holiday Magazine listed Schuler’s as one of its top award winning restaurants as America’s finest. Schuler’s received its 5th consecutive honor as one of the 100 Best Restaurants in the U.S. and Canada inSales and Marketing Management magazine in 1978.
Restaurant & Institutions magazine’s Ivy Award, given to restaurants that have achieved great status and prestige in the industry, began in 1971. Schuler’s Restaurant won this Award of Distinction, the very first year it was presented.