Bob Schneider takes over Wittenberg True Value

He wants to maintain his late brother’s strong relationship with family, community
Bob Schneider organizes paint cans at Wittenberg True Value. Schneider is now overseeing and managing the Wittenberg True Value in the wake of his brother Roger’s death in March.

Luke Reimer | NEW Media
Luke Reimer

Bob Schneider is now overseeing Wittenberg True Value after his brother Roger died in March from complications of COVID-19.

“Back in 1996, Roger and I came into the store in October and worked for a couple of months,” said Schneider. “Then we took over in January 1997.”

The brothers had a 50-50 partnership, owning the store for 10 years. Bob Schneider eventually sold his half of the business to his brother.

“I left and started some other companies in Wausau,” recalled Schneider.

Schneider said that he came back to Wittenberg to oversee the store in order to help Roger with the business while he was in the hospital.

“I got guardianship of Roger and the business side of it,” said Schneider. “There was nothing that could have helped Roger. It was not my plan to take over the business.”

With the persuasion of his family — including his son, Jacob — Schneider decided to keep running the store at 301 S. Cherry St.

“My son was very close with Roger — he came to me and said we need to keep this going for Roger,” said Schneider. “There is a lot that I know about this community. It would be the best fit for the community for me to continue to oversee the store. My son and I talked and felt that at this time, we needed to keep the store open.”

Now that Schneider is overseeing the store, he is looking to add some new features.

“We set up a company for my son called Speedy Small Engine. We are going to bring the small engine repair here,” said Schneider. “I own a company in Wausau called Jireh’s Food Pantry; we are going to be incorporating that into Wittenberg as well. We are looking at getting trees and shrubbery and more power equipment here.”

He also mentioned that on July 10, there will be a day to honor and memorialize Roger.

“The community will be able to get tickets for the Wausau Woodchucks game in honor of Roger,” said Schneider. “Roger loved baseball, so we thought this was good way to honor him in our community.”

He also mentioned setting up a big screen in the parking lot, allowing people to get together and watch a movie.

Schneider said that he and Roger felt strong ties to the people of this area, and he wants to keep that tradition going.

“I am very much into a lot of the community,” said Schneider. “Especially with the COVID-19 pandemic — it has just really isolated a lot of people for the last two and a half years.”

According to Schneider, Wittenberg True Value has evolved into a place where local people can do more than just shop; they can catch up with each other and share stories. Schneider said that he wants to keep that relationship with the community strong.

“I believe that life is too short to get worked up over things,” said Schneider. “I want to talk to people and hear about their kids. People know that they can come in and sit down and talk for 20 minutes. People know they can feel comfortable here. That’s what it is about. There are friendships and relationships built here.”

Schneider said he had a close relationship with Roger and learned tips on the business from him.

“One of the things that Roger taught me was the paint industry — he really knew what he was doing in that department,” said Schneider. “Roger could also do anything and everything on displays. That is going to be one hard thing to replace. That is one thing that he was just phenomenal with. It would be fair to say that Roger taught me what I know about hardware stores now.”

Schneider said he hopes to continue his brother’s legacy in treating his customers as neighbors and friends, not as just a stream of income for the store.

“My relationship with Roger was very strong. We talked every day,” he said. “Our relationship with the community is a partnership. Relationships are important to me. This is not about the money; it’s about building relationships. I think that that is what Roger was striving to do.”