Guest post from Mark Holub, who worked at Younkers 1986 to 1996.
In 1986, I was hired as the Director of Visual Merchandising for Younkers and I worked with Fred Hubbell regularly.
I remember a conversation I had with Fred early on in my tenure when we were touring one of the branch stores. His observation was simple: for thousands of Iowans, Younkers was often their “first job.” He said it was our obligation to keep the stores strong and growing to maintain that tradition of helping Iowans throughout the state start their professional lives.
He took that as a very serious responsibility, imparting it to the entire management team, making it our mission. It made a big impact on me and gave me a different appreciation for what we were doing at the time.
Fred would often visit different stores across the state and meet with the sales associates and management. It was my job to accompany him on those trips.
One time, I was seated behind Fred in the car and stared at his back for most of the day. I noticed that the dress shirt Fred was wearing had ripped on the back and had been mended. It hadn’t torn on the seam, which would have been easy to fix and hide, but rather in the middle of the shoulder – about a 2×2 inch L-shaped tear.
My somewhat jaded 30-something year old eyes thought, “why wouldn’t he just buy a new shirt?” I knew I would. It would be the easiest thing to do.
But as the day continued, I kept staring at that hand-stitching and realized Fred must have been raised in a family that did not take material things for granted. It showed me that the Hubbells were not only frugal, but extraordinarily practical. Of course he could afford to buy a new shirt, but why should he? This one had a lot of life in it. Every time I see Fred, I think about that day and what a down-to-earth guy he is, but also a great leader.
I’ll be voting for Fred in November because he truly cares about Iowans and his life is guided by strong values, even when he doesn’t think anyone is watching. He has made tough but thoughtful decisions and that’s the type of person we need leading our state.
by Mark Holub