The cost of a movie was 25 cents. You could buy a box of Snaps and a Lunch Bar for a nickel. Gasoline was 31 cents a gallon at the pump. Competition was keen between several brand-name stations from Mobile's "flying red horse" to Conoco's "hottest brand going." A couple of dollars worth of gasoline would get you free vacuuming, an oil check, tires filled and the windows washed all with a smile.
The prices have changed but the service and the smile is still the same. That's the Leo Jundt way. Jundt, who started out in the service station business in downtown Minot in 1957 and was the owner/operator of Jundt's Westland on South Broadway for 43 years, is still helping out customers with a smile and a kind word.
"That's the good old days. That's all I've done all my years. My station was always full service," said Jundt while waiting for another vehicle to pull up to the full-service island at Harley's Arrowhead Conoco in Minot. "A lot of people don't know what we're talking about but if the tires are low, I can spot it. That's what I like to do help people out and bring things like that to their attention."
Kim Fundingsland/MDN •
Leo Jundt enjoys providing full service to customers at Harley’s Arrowhead Conoco in Minot.
When a customer at a self-service pump asked Jundt if he would check the oil level in her car, he quickly obliged. In doing so he discovered a fan belt that was barely clinging to a pulley. The woman, who was about to leave town, was grateful for Jundt's advice that helped her avoid an overheated or stalled car on the highway.
"I am having fun and it's all attitude," said Jundt. "When I get up in the morning this is what I look forward to doing and I try to do it with as much pleasure as I can, yeh. Smiling makes it a lot easier. I really do enjoy what I'm doing, okay? That's where I'm at, but I'm pretty rare. I'm a pretty rare boy."
Jundt's boyish smile and happy-go-lucky spirit injects a little sunshine into the day of even the crabbiest customers. When he opens the door to greet a customer, he looks very much like a kid who just got out on the last day of school. The reality is, he is 78 years old and working nearly 40 hours per week. However, he thoroughly enjoys it.
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"I guess you'd call me a workin' man but, to me, it's a retirement," laughed Jundt. "The majority of people I used to wait on are not around anymore but, the thing is, right here I have a lot of young people that I have a good connection with. They get impressed when they see an old man out there, you know, smilin' and workin.' "
Jundt has witnessed the evolution of the gasoline station business. When he started in the business, gasoline stations maybe had a box of Snickers bars for sale under the counter where the cash register was located. Gum was available in a bulb machine in the corner and soft drinks, maybe, could be found in a vending machine near the front door. Today the "service" station has given way to the convenience store.
"This is the thing. Let's face it. C-stores is what people want now," said Jundt.
But they'll still take service with a smile too, and Jundt has never let time or location change his approach when working with customers and friends.
"I think that's probably much of what keeps me on the job everyday because I do run into people that I haven't seen forever and ever and ever. If I didn't have this connection here, I would not get to see them," remarked Jundt.
That's the way Leo Jundt sees it, but it's a pretty good bet that the customers and friends are just as eager to see Leo.