OXFORD – With a pencil over his ear and an infectiously cheerful chuckle, you’ll find Bill Van Nieuwenhuyze in Oxford’s Home Depot.
“Have fun with it,” he exclaims happily.
He is only 90 and has spent the past ten years scanning inventory, stocking shelves and most importantly supporting customers.
“Customer service is great. That’s the only way they keep coming back,” Bill explained.
One of Bill’s favorite parts of the job is leading the monthly children’s workshops in the store. He teaches children of all ages and skills how to use tools while working on a project. Some of his most rewarding workshops focused on the unique needs and gifts of children with intellectual disabilities.
Bill says that Van Nieuwenhuyze means ‘of the new house’. Fitting, working in home improvement. He is an honest seller and he is punctual.
“I’m here early every day. I’m always there at seven. I don’t start until eight. I sit and do crossword puzzles,” Bill says of his shifts Friday through Sunday.
Bill had to take about a year off during the pandemic for security reasons. It was also at this time that he lost his wife. Being fully vaccinated brought some of the light back into his life — a long-awaited return to the aisles he loves.
“I have to do something,” he said. “I have to keep working. I love it.”
And Home Depot loves him, especially Bill’s Angels. Three young employees have become good friends and mentees.
“It doesn’t get any better than him,” Michaela said.
“He’s the biggest supporter of everyone. He’s a great guy,” Nicole added.
With no signs of slowing down, Bill is proof that there is no age limit for valuable employees.
“It can happen. There are jobs. People have a lot of skills, which are retiring. They can be used,” Bill said.
There is also no limit for boys and their toys.
“This is the best part. This is the best part!” he says with a laugh.