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Updated: Good spirits for 60 years

Jim Bolin stands in the President’s Liquor Store, which he added to President’s Bar in 1971. He purchased President’s Bar 60 years ago, and still goes to work there every day, according to his wife, Carol. Courtesy of Carol Bolin

When Jim Bolin was born in the 1930s, the nation was in the throes of the Great Depression.

"I grew up in tough times; that has an impact on you," said Bolin, who's owned and operated President's Bar for 60 years this month.

It would be 1942 before the city's fortunes would change, when the nation preparing for war created thousands of jobs in the city.

But by the time Bolin was ready to strike out on his own in the 1950s, jobs in Superior were again scarce and hard to come by.

So, the Superior man decided to make his own future.

"I assumed a mortgage of the previous owner ... borrowed from my father," Bolin said of his decision to buy President's Bar, which was for sale in 1957.

In September 1957, Bolin bought President's Bar on East Second Street.

Sixty years later, Bolin still gets up every morning to head to the business he's nurtured and grown over the decades, according to his wife, Carol Bolin.

When he was first starting out, Bolin said he ran the bar alone, but he eventually added a part-time employee. Today, about 20 people work for the businesses run by Bolin. They include a liquor store added in 1971, a convenience store added in 1987 and a car wash built in 2002.

Bolin said in those early days, bars in Superior closed on Sunday, Election Day and religious holidays, and all the customers were men. Women, when they did come in, weren't allowed to sit at the bar.

"Women couldn't work here," Bolin said. "Your wife could, but women didn't come into the bar."

Today, however, he said his customers are equally split among men and women. And he has a steady stream of regulars from throughout the city and the greater region, and some who travel to the area for things such as hunting and fishing. Some only come to the area once a year, others monthly, he said.

Some of his regulars from as far away as Illinois, Canada and Michigan are hunting parties that come through every year, he said.

"Change is so slow, you don't realize it's changed — mostly for the better, I guess," Bolin said.

And it's the people that keeps him motivated 60 years later.

"I would miss them," he said. "I guess I'll retire someday, but it's never been an urgent thing. I like the challenge."

President's Bar open house

When: 1-4 p.m. Saturday

Where: 3824 E. Second St.