"Thanks," she says, "I've never been to a station like this before."
Not surprising. There are no other stations like Mallek's left in Ann Arbor. It is the only one in town whose pumps don't take credit cards.
"I'm a little deja vu," says John Mendler, who's owned the station since 1976, when employees still pumped gas at most stations. "I wish that we were still 100 percent full serve," Mendler says. "We get an awful lot of elderly people and handicapped that we help out. I think that people still deserve that kind of treatment. But that's not the mind-set now. It's come in, get your gas as quick as you can, and go."
When he bought the station, it still carried the name of Kasimir "Cash" Mallek, who opened it in 1941. He saw no need to change it. "What good does it do to have my name up there? People in the neighborhood are familiar with Mallek's Service. That never entered my mind, to change it. It's almost embarrassing the number of people who think my name is Mallek," says Mendler. "It really is comical. Even my wife most of the time calls me Mr. Mallek when she calls me on the phone."