Living in Stormy Kromer Country

By Bob Jacquart, CEO

Bill and Jack Wagener with Bob Jacquart (on right)

A lot of people have trouble understanding how someone can live in a remote and cold place like Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  The truth is, I don’t know any other way to live.  As I have gotten older, I have found that more and more friends and colleagues tell me how lucky I am.

I remember a time when I was watching the Packer Game with some friends at the best dining spot in the area, The Bear Bar.  My 3 friends were all from Madison.  At a commercial break in the 4th quarter, one of them said to me, “And you get to stay here!” as he started thinking about his long drive back to Madison and away from the Northwoods.

Or the time when I met a new business contact – someone who seemed to have accomplished a lot more than I had.  I told him how proud he should be of what he achieved, and his response to me was, “No, Bob, you should be proud because you have figured out a way to live and work in this beautiful place.”

So I do live here with my wonderful family.  I have been married to Denise for 37 years and if you don’t already know, both of my daughters, Gina and KJ, work in the business.

After trying hard to be an Olympic marathoner and blowing out a knee, I found road biking.  Gina wasn’t too sure of the connection between my love for Stormy and road biking when I asked if I could design a Stormy Kromer bike jersey.  Created by our graphic designer Matt Schnell and built by Mt Borah, I had a few jerseys made for myself and some friends.  We now have about 16 folks biking the Northwoods in their jerseys.  (I even traded the former owner of Schwinn – a new friend – a Stormy Kromer jersey for some Schwinn gear.)

Road biking is amazing here as the roads near our cabin are flat and quiet.  I take a 20 mile ride after work and I see on average 4 cars.

Michael Wagener in Taos, New Mexico

In the winter my bike goes inside on a trainer and I am very content with riding that and also with cross-country skiing.  All of this quiet time gives me a chance to think about how I can grow as a leader and continue to make Stormy Kromer a major contribution to my family, the people who work for us, our dealers, our customers and my community.

Are there other fans out there that have combined their love of SK with another hobby?  We’d love to hear about it.