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Humans of Neenah

Posted on by Future Neenah

Webb“If they leave the store with a smile on their face, you did your job. If they leave the store laughing, you really did your job. But you don’t have to make money off people every day.”

Jim Webb is the 5th generation Krueger’s True Value President. His family’s company has been in Neenah since 1866. Kruegers has been in business for 150 years. Many of his relatives work at Kruegers with him. His brother is the treasurer, his daughter is in receiving, and even some in-laws are his employees. As the president of his company he has to “cover all fields.” He needs to be a jack of all trades so to speak. Always running on all cylinders. “Every single minute of every single day, I cannot disappoint them.” He is motivated by youth and his influence over his employees. “Every contribution to youth is an investment.” Krueger’s sponsors the Neenah Fun Runs and Neenah Cub Scouts. The YouthGo haunted house has had Krueger’s as its sponsor since the very beginning. Many first jobs are at Krueger’s. He creates the future workforce of Neenah. Jim Webb also helped form the WIAA Neenah High Hockey Team. He has 25 years of history with Neenah Hockey, but he can’t skate, and never could. “But I don’t know what I would do if they didn’t have me back.”

“My day is controlled by my customers.” Jim Webb is “on display almost 365 days a year – by choice.” Jim Webb interacts with countless people on a day to day basis. “Sometimes I don’t know who they are or what they do but they know me.” People talk to Jim Webb as though they are close friends. They share personal stories with him because he gives a sense of trust.”Because everyone here is a guest in my home.” Mr. Webb takes pride in knowing that, “People know that they can talk to me about anything knowing that it is in their best interest. People come in with problems and they leave with solutions. That makes you feel pretty good. They’re like extensions of my family… I shouldn’t get paid for this I should pay to do this.”

MEMORIES

Likewise Neenah has history with him, without Neenah he, “wouldn’t know what he would do.” All his customers are in Neenah, all his business, everything. He grew up here. His family has been here for over five generations. He is coming up on his 38th anniversary. His most memorable moments were during the summer in his youth. He and his family would play softball in the school yard. They’d eat a sandwich, come back and play till dinner and comeback to play again. When He was young, everyone carried around a little salt or sugar. Salt was for when they picked apples and the sugar was for rhubarb. “The biggest mischief we got into was taking a stalk of rhubarb from somebody else’s garden. We lived outside.” His favorite place now in Neenah is his store. It is “as much of a home as my house is,” he says.

One of Mr Webb’s greatest told memories were of him and his siblings and friends at the downtown store…. “Downtown store does not exist anymore… But it was about the width of the BMO Harris bank drive through and went all the way to the back. It had about five floors including the basement. And all the way at the top you go up the stairs and there was some storage back there and we, my 4 siblings and I, would run around all over the place. Up and down the freight elevators up and down the stairs. Hide and seek, it got to the point where some of my friends, would say, “Is your dad coming down to the store and can we come along?”… We had like a private playground. That is one of the greatest memories I ever had.” He spoke of another cherished memory of his childhood; his parents came from a long line of Roman Catholics. And they would host a party….”the kids would just terrorize the neighborhood.” Those were the two greatest things growing up being able to run around outside with a bunch of kids goofing around not getting in trouble not doing any damage and not worrying about any kidnapping was just unbelievable. I had a great childhood.”

– Story by Neenah High School Student Francis Turoski

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