Wolski’s Tavern & Digger’s Speed Shop

In this day of the phone-it-in, check-the-box and good-enough, those who approach their craft and personal identity with thought and pride are worthy of celebration.  A mind numbing drive through the plaque laden, strip-mall artery of any minor metro will expose the alternative.  The vinyl banner that will last six months, the mail-order signage sold by category and customized in haste. These are the symptoms of a greater malaise that threatens to lull us into accepting less personality and pride for more convenience and savings. It’s a commercial cult of conformity and the price of apathy is a bit too much for this guy to bear. That’s why Horses Cut Shop makes as many turns as necessary to find those places that defy this lazy convention and choose to hang onto their freak flags with both hands in the face of the high forces of lower expectations. A logo isn’t going to make or break a business but it is a worthy indicator of what kind of experience you’ll encounter when you walk through the door.  The way one does one thing, is the way one does everything.

WolskisLogoExhibit A: Wolski’s Tavern, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Tucked off a minor-drag, on a crooked Pulaski Street in Milwaukee’s lower-east side is a time capsule of a tavern that clings to its soul despite the odds. Family owned since its inception in 1907, Wolski’s is now owned by the grandsons of the original owner. To hear them tell it, not much has changed in over a hundred years. Still a neighborhood favorite, Wolski’s has achieved a certain amount of global fame due to the bumber stickers they give out at closing time that declares, “I CLOSED WOLSKI’S”. Also of note,  in the back, by the pool tables you’ll find a framed pencil sketch done by a regular, suspended in a state of near completion. It says a lot about the place without saying much at all and that’s what a logo and a piece of art is meant to do. Whomever crafted it did so with love, most likely right there over a beer and peanuts.


Diggers-Speed_2Exhibit B: Digger’s Speed Shop. Kalamazoo, Mich

Dan Lummis used to dig ditches before he laid down his shovel and picked up the lease on a building just outside Kalamazoo to build his motorcycle shop. Lummis takes pride in working with people who want to break free from the iron grip the big dealerships have on bike maintenance and performance work. Rightly so. The whole point of owning a motorcycle is community and freedom and it takes someone psychotically dedicated to both to make them happen in real time. One of Dan’s shop mates imagined his logo and painted it broadside on Dan’s 1947 Chevy Truck and the rest is logo history; the flag a testament to the worship of speed and the shovel a reminder of the hard work it took Dan to make his own two-wheeled way.

Don’t let the big-box, same-same get you down. Examples of exceptional pride and personality are around every turn in America, one just has to occasionally veer off the Big-Slab and slow down enough to see real people doing real things their own way.  In the end, we’re all responsible for the kind of world we want to live in.  If you don’t like what you see, be deliberate in your actions and patronage and change it. In the end it’ll make all the difference… honest it will.


Horses Cut Shop
Office of The Road Less Traveled