McCook Daily Gazette
McCOOK, Nebraska -- The new manager at Brown's Shoe Fit Co. in McCook is the new kid on the block and is the first to admit he has some big shoes to fill.
"Max has done a great job here, so I'm not planning to change anything right away," said Mark Phillips, who takes over as the new manager at Brown's with the departure of Max Abercrombie. "I want to take the time to get to know the people, what they like, before I throw some new things into the mix."
Abercrombie, the former manager, is originally of Kansas and managed the McCook Brown's Shoe Fit Co. for 16 years. He is now managing one in Salina, Kansas, where he can be closer to his family.
"It was extremely hard to leave," Ambercrombie admitted. "The toughest thing was leaving the people. But I still have plans to check in now and then on what's going on in McCook."
Phillips, who moved here with his wife, Lauren, from Warrensburg, Missouri, started at the McCook store Dec. 31 and is still getting his feet wet.
"Right now, I'm still getting to know the people and the town," he said.
He's been with Brown's Shoe Fit for eight years, managing a store in Jacksonville, Illinois, for three years.
Although McCook's population is smaller than the other places he's been -- Jacksonville, at about 20,000 and Warrensburg, 18,000 -- Phillips said he's looking forward to working here.
He likes to run and work out, so he and Lauren are still trying to find a good place to exercise, he said. "That's on the list for next week, to check out some places to exercise."
Phillips got a taste of the Nebraska cold with the recent single-digit temperatures, something he said he's not used to in Warrensburg or Jacksonville, where the temps would be in the 30s.
"I'm still adjusting to Nebraska. If we got this kind of snow and cold in Illinois, people would be rolling in the doors for boots. But maybe people in Nebraska are used to this kind of weather," he mused.
Abercrombie said he had no words of wisdom for Phillips, only to treat people "like they're family."
"The people of Southwest Nebraska and Northwest Kansas are great," Abercrombie said. "If he treats them like family, it will work out fine."
Phillips already is taking steps in that direction.
"I like small towns, the small-town feeling, where everyone knows everyone else," he said