Jerry Nerman and his wife, Margaret, and son, Lewis, are among the Midwest’s most prominent collectors of contemporary art.
The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park, KS, is an elegant building designed by architect Kyu Sung Woo, and it houses a stunning collection revered by art lovers. When the museum opened on the campus of Johnson County Community College in October 2007, it became the only contemporary art museum in Kansas and the largest in a four-state region.
The limestone-clad Nerman Museum, aptly described as a “minimalist” design, is a far cry from the humble storefront, chain link fence and gravel lot that was Nerman’s first place of business – a business unknown to connoisseurs of art but well known to truckers.
That location was “minimalist,” too, one could say.
In 1950, Jerry Nerman and the late Melvin Spitcaufsky created a small truck lot in Kansas City, MO, intending to sell used trucks. Their first trucks were eight vehicles purchased from the Missouri Corps of Engineers. Those trucks wouldn’t even fire up and, as the story goes, the men had to roll them down a hill to start them.
The $8,000 investment, however, turned into a lucrative deal and the two men realized they might be on to something. Arrow Truck Sales Inc. was launched.
It’s said that Jerry Nerman often expresses his collecting philosophy as “the three s’s” – search, secure and share. As with his art collection, that’s what it seems he did with Arrow Truck Sales, building the company into a respected business.
The Volvo Group bought half of the ownership of Arrow Truck Sales in 1998 and acquired the rest of the company in 2001. Nerman continued to be active until he announced his retirement in February of this year. Arrow now has 19 retail locations – including two new ones in Minneapolis and Denver – and a huge inventory of quality Class 8 trucks.
It’s a company heavily invested in the trucking industry and the community via its successful Back on the Road program. For the past three years, the contest has been providing deserving truckers with a second chance.
Arrow Truck Sales Inc. celebrates its 60th year anniversary this week.
– By Sandi Soendker, managing editor
with Elizabeth Andersen, copy editor