New Year’s Eve was also retirement eve for Dennis Pulver.
On Wednesday, Pulver worked the last day of his 40 years and a few months at Weygant’s Appliance in Platteville.
“Forty years have gone out in a very small box,” said Pulver about an hour before the end of his last work day.
“I want to do what I want to do for a change,” he said. “It’s always been business first, and I want to do some fishing, do some woodwork projects, visit some old friends. She’s got a honey-do list, so I’ll be doing that.”
“She” is Pulver’s wife, Trudy, who with Ray and Paula Gadke purchased the store from founder Bob Weygant in 1974. Weygant started the store in 1949, decades after Weygant’s Log Cabin Trading Post was in operation in Platteville.
Pulver went to work for Weygant at the former Platteville Refrigeration after Trudy was hired to teach in special education in Platteville.
“My landlord was Bob Weygant, and we got to be good friends,” said Pulver. “And I ran into Bob on the street one day, and he said, ‘You’re buying me out.’”
The store originally was located in what now is the Pizzeria Uno Annex, in the flood plain of Rountree Branch. The store moved to its current location at 5973 Highway 80/81 south of Platteville in 1995, two years after the 1993 floods.
Pulver’s retirement means he no longer has to do things like handle emergency service calls the day before, or the day of, holidays, or removing freezers that were placed in basements before the house was built, or disassembling an appliance to get it into a house, where it then was reassembled.
Perhaps ironically, while Dennis Pulver is retiring, Trudy Pulver was elevated from part-time to full-time. She is now working for their son, Aaron, who bought out the Gadkes when they retired in September 2012, and now is getting the other half of the business.
Even without Pulver, the business is continuing basically as it has, with kitchen and laundry appliances and bedroom furniture.
“It’s not going to slip,” he said. “Everybody’s replaceable.”