American Faces No. 38
There are people and places that are icons in a community. Jim Merkl and the Champlin Sinclair station are just that. Set near the Mississippi River and just across the bridge from Anoka is the historic Champlin Sinclair station. Built in the 1950’s with the classic white and green Sinclair look, the station has been under Jim’s ownership since 1977. Jim began his journey working for other shops where he learned the art of working on cars, plus something about running a business and how to treat customers right. Jim saw that the older mechanics and service station owners were almost considered sages in their communities, sharing wisdom that went beyond just turning a wrench. Jim decided he wanted to be one of those grey-haired sages one day. Now sporting his fair share of grey, Jim has accumulated wisdom to share, along with an opinion or two about current affairs. But don’t let that dissuade you from stopping in to this full-service gas station and repair shop. He’s a great guy, and as much of a landmark as the Sinclair Dinosaur that stands guard over the street corner just outside the shop.
You’ll find a cup of hot coffee, and maybe a doughnut or two, plus a ready smile and the kind of customer service that makes you feel like you stepped back in time. If you take time to talk to Jim or his wife, Diana, you’ll leave feeling this busy world we live in has been set back on a proper course.
So stop in to the Champlin Sinclair, fill up your gas tank, have your oil checked, then share some black coffee and neighborly conversation with an American icon.