The other night I ran into an old friend of Kohler. Was this just random chance? I believe it was something greater. Regardless, it created an amazing memory for me and my new friend Isaac.
I was returning to the main office shortly after 5:00 to return some visitor badges. When I got to the door I was greeted by an older gentleman who turned to me with a sad expression and stated, “looks like the door is locked.” I asked if I could help, and he shared that he worked with Mr. Kohler 42 years ago and he just wanted to reminisce and see the main office. So, I let him in, and we stood in the main lobby for several minutes as he shared his story.
Isaac Yomtovian shared that he was in the main office about 42 years ago and met with Mr. Kohler. He was hired to help solve a problem, and his engineering firm shared plans for two lakes, an exercise facility with windows overlooking the lake, and several tree houses in the woods. He told about how he sat in a grand office above the lobby with a larger gentleman, and shortly after the meeting began a young Hebert Kohler with dark hair and a beard entered still wearing riding pants. He later asked me if they ever built any of those things? It turns out he left that firm and started his own venture shortly after this meeting and didn’t know how the project went…
I was free until 6:00, so I offered to give him a tour of the village if he would allow me to ride in his car. We then drove to the Sports Core where I could give him the full tour. Several times he stopped and took pictures of the various locations where windows overlooked the lake. When we finally entered the family pool room he was in awe by the warm air, the water, the lounge seating, and the amazing expanse of glass looking out to the lake. Next, we went out past the outdoor hot tub and walked on the deck where I showed him the lake and one of the tree houses. On the way out I asked the receptionist for a pamphlet on the 40-year celebration for this exercise facility and gave it to him as a keepsake.
I asked if he would be so kind to drive me to my house and he obliged. On the drive I noticed the fog was lifting and suggested we stop at Blackwolf Run and quickly take in the views of the course and the building. Almost sunset, with the damp air and clear skies, the view looked equivalent to our best marketing photographs. Inside, Anna at the front desk, shared some history of the building, the Winnebago Indians, and the canoe.
Overall it was an amazing 45 minutes with a new friend, and fantastic to see the beauty and history of our village and company through the eyes of a guest.
I think after a while I take for granted the amazing history, architecture, and beauty of this company and village. Huge thanks to the Kohler family for the attention to detail and the gracious nature they have provided to both guests and associates.
We often get busy… I hope you can take a moment to appreciate the amazing things and people in your life.