March 16, 2010: Mr. Jim Kruger
Owner, Kruger Jewelers
Jim Kruger is a native of Austin, Texas. Jim grew up in Austin and attended North Texas State University for one year before he joined the military. He served in the army from 1965-1968. When he was discharged from the army in 1968 he was married with his first son on the way. He and his wife settled in Austin and Jim worked two jobs while he put himself through school at the University of Texas. He graduated with a business degree in statistics.
Jim went to work for NCH Chemsearch as a salesman. He traveled nearly 40 weeks a year; his territory was the western half of the US.
He decided to leave Chemsearch to return to the family jewelry business so he could be nearer home and his wife and three sons.
Jim is a third generation jeweler. His grandfather opened the first Kruger jewelry store in 1906 in Wichita Falls. In 1939 Jim’s father opened the Kruger jewelry store that is located on Congress and 8 th in Austin. Jim’s brother David owns that store today.
Jim opened the Kruger Jewelers in Barton Creek Mall in 1981. He is proud to note that he is still serving customers who purchased jewelry from his father 50-60 years ago. Jim’s family also is related to the more famous Zale family. Morris Zale was his grandfather’s nephew. It was a member of Jim’s family that provided the start-up funds for Morris to open his first Zale’s Jewelers in 1924 in Wichita Falls.
Another major passion in Jim’s life is his strong belief in giving back to the community and he is very proactive about searching out volunteer opportunities. Jim once undertook a major project to establish a zoo in Austin, one of the only metropolitan areas of its size not to have a zoo. Unfortunately, the project was not completed. He has done work for the College of Natural Science at UT and served 15 years on the board of the Center for Battered Women. He currently serves on the Board of Visitors of the McDonald Observatory, the board of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children), and he volunteers each year for Adoption Day in Hays County.