The new owners of Docs Blue Moose, Mike and Diane Schnell, stand outside their business. PHOTO: DAVID STOEGER/SPRING GROVE HERALD
The new owners of Docs Blue Moose, Mike and Diane Schnell, stand outside their business. PHOTO: DAVID STOEGER/SPRING GROVE HERALD

Spring Grove residents, Mike and Diane Schnell, are moving forward to finalize their purchase of Doc's Blue Moose restaurant and Norski's Saloon. They are currently running both establishments under an operating agreement. After all the details are ironed out, they will finalize the purchase "as soon as possible."

Mike Schnell said his short-term goals are to focus on, "quality, value, service and consistency. These are all things the community expects."

They are interested in maintaining Doc's and Norski's as important business establishments for the Spring Grove community. Schnell said, "Our biggest strength is hard work. We like to put our heads down and chop wood all day."

Both Mike and Diane Schnell have worked in a variety of settings. Mike was in the National Guard for 20 years, and then worked at Northern Engraving and Peerless Chain. Diane has worked for Kwik Trip, Able Nursing Home, and worked at Doc's for seven years.

Schnell said, "We were already working 19 hours a day, why not work 20 hours a day for ourselves?"

Having worked for a variety of different bosses, Schnell said they've both learned a lot about what makes a good boss. He feels that good management is essential. "We're all in here. It has to work for us. In order for that to work, it has to work for the employees, too. They have to feel like part of a team." Server, Faith, said, "When I quit last year, I really missed it. I'm glad to have the opportunity to be back."

Schnell said, "The people we have here want to be here. They want to see Spring Grove succeed as much as we do."

When asked what customers can expect, Schnell said, "Hopefully, they can expect us to be here a long time." He wants to "give customers a good experience so they'll come back."

One concern Schnell had was that, "People's habits changed when they tore the highway out, so the only way to come in and out of here was to come in the back. We are all creatures of habit, so how do we get those people back?"

Schnell also said, "There's more than enough business in town for everybody," and that the businesses in Spring Grove "complement one another. It's important for people to have a choice."

For right now, Schnell plans to keep the menu basically the same. Down the road they'd like to look at switching out some items that "aren't as good sellers" and replacing them with items that are more popular or sought-after. Schnell said, "Pork burgers are very popular in Spring Grove. We just started serving them. They've gone over pretty well."

They also offer made-to-order pizzas, and premium ice cream from the Chocolate Shoppe in Madison, Wis.

Under their new ownership, Doc's hours will be Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 7 a.m. through 8 p.m., on Tuesdays, 7 a.m. through 2 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. through 9 p.m.