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People who make a difference: Josh Schultz

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July 11, 2023

LCnp1O2KFZEOMRO – Born and raised in Oshkosh, Josh Schultz – owner of Tanner’s Tap and Grill in Omro – said he uses his platform as a business owner to give back to organizations/people who might be less fortunate than him.

“It’s one of those things I feel strongly about,” he said. “My mother passed away when I was young, so I try to help out organizations/people who might need a little help.”

A U.S. Marine Corps veteran – actively serving for more than four years – Schultz said he spent time overseas in Japan and Iraq before settling back into life stateside.

“I spent some time in North Carolina and Arizona before moving back to the area for good in 2015 – when I bought Tanner’s,” the 42-year-old said.

More on Tanner’s
Tanner’s – which is located at 207 W. Main St. in Omro – sits inside a building that was constructed in 1865.

“It was known as the Omro Hotel,” Schultz said. “Pat Tanner purchased it in the early 2000s – that’s obviously why it was called Tanner’s.”

Josh Schultz

Schultz said after his military days, and between his stints in North Carolina and Arizona, he worked for Pat.

“I did that for a few years,” he said. “I told him if he ever wanted to sell the place to let me know. I didn’t realize it would be so quick. I was home visiting my sister over Halloween in 2014. We went to Tanner’s for a fish fry, and Pat said, ‘I’d like to sell.’ By April (of the next year), I had bought the place.”

Schultz said he thought about changing the name, but realized it wasn’t worth it.

“We have a lot of elderly people in the area who frequent Tanner’s – many of them still call it the Omro Hotel, and that hasn’t been in operation for like 25 years now,” he said. “Everyone knows it as Tanner’s, and that’s what it will stay.”

Schultz said he has a few improvement ideas in the works for Tanner’s, but those will have to wait a bit because he recently bought another bar – Liberty Bar, which is also located in Omro.

“There’s a dining room at Tanner’s that’s in desperate need of updates,” he said. “I also plan to work on an outside area and turn it into a tiki bar. I currently don’t have the funds, especially from buying this other bar – but, I’ll eventually get there. I want to make Tanner’s as nice as can be so patrons can enjoy it to the fullest.”

Giving back
Schultz said using his platform as a business owner to give back is “pretty simple.”

“We do a monthly – or sometimes two months – raffle where we raise money for a cause, an organization or an individual who could use a little help,” he said. “The monthly raffle was an idea earlier this year from one of my employees – Amy – and my girlfriend, Heather. Amy does a lot for me, raising money for different things.”

From there, Schultz said, “it’s grown.”

The thought of a monthly fundraising raffle, Schultz said, was born from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Tanner’s is the (location for the) American Legion post as well,” he said. “They meet here on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Pre-COVID, I used to help them with their big dinner at the firehouse. A few hundred people would attend, and I’d cater the whole event. I’d rent a broaster trailer and supply everything. I normally don’t cater for groups, but I’m supportive of vets.”

Schultz said the annual dinner hasn’t happened since the pandemic.

“Earlier this year, that gave us the idea to start this raffle,” he said. “It doesn’t make up for the money they used to make from the dinner, but it was something.”

Schultz said he also donates to the Legion post’s Fourth of July pancake breakfast as a way of giving back.

“They keep all the proceeds from it,” he said.

Schultz said a few months later, he got another idea of how to give back.

“I heard from customers about how if pets – there are a lot of pet owners in Omro, especially dogs – get out, the local police department picks them up and takes them to the pound,” he said. “That takes away from the police department from doing other things, and the owners have to pay to get their animals out of the pound. We thought it was a good idea to purchase some chip scanners for the department.”

The scanners, however, weren’t cheap.

“And I wanted to purchase two pet scanners – I wanted a scanner for each squad car,” he said.

In order to support the purchase of both scanners, Schultz said that fundraiser ran for two months.

“The department has been using the scanners quite frequently,” he said. “The day after they got them, they used them for the first time. Every month after that, we’ve done it for a different cause.”

For the May/June fundraiser, Tanner’s raised money for a woman whose husband passed away from brain cancer.

For its May/June fundraiser, Tanner’s Tap and Grill raffled off a Twisted Tea golf bag and chair to help raise funds for a local woman who recently lost her husband to brain cancer. Submitted Photo

“(We typically raise) about $500, but we are always trying to do more,” Schultz said. “My general beer vendor has donated some stuff so less comes out of my pocket – which means we can donate more money.”

Another recent fundraiser Schultz held helped the Omro School District’s Angel Fund.

“That puts money in a food account for any student who doesn’t have enough money for lunches,” he said. 

Schultz said what organization or who Tanner’s selects individually to donate to is done in different ways.

“It’s mostly a combination of me choosing the fundraiser or suggestions,” he said. “I hear things from my customers. It’s not tons of money – any little bit helps. Social media helps spread the word, too.”

Schultz said money is presented either in person or by sending a check.

“I don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable with the situation,” he said.

To view the latest fundraising opportunity or to donate, visit Tanner’s Tap and Grill on Facebook.

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