It’s 4:00 a.m. As the list of orders is readied, the first handmade kolaches are carefully placed in the oven of a small home kitchen in Hillje, Texas. Mike and Betty Jo Prasek had just purchased Hillje Grocery, a dream come true for the couple. The journey begins.
Their store customers were also their friends, and the Prasek’s simply couldn’t let them down by missing a single detail. The folks counted on their morning kolaches and coffee to start their day.
That dedication to service and purest quality established back on the first of October 1974, serves as the North Star of the business to this very day. Two things were evolving in the early days that launched the brand to future success. The first, a true sense of family permeated all aspects of the operations, including the way the Praseks treated each customer – almost as if welcoming them into their home. The second founding conviction was the laser focus on quality and freshness in all that they offered to their patrons. If something they bought and sold in the store was not top-notch, the Prasek’s just made it themselves. Perfected it. And stood behind it.
These tenets of how to run the Prasek’s business remain as guiding principles to this day. Mike and Betty Jo’s kids and grandkids run the show now, still going strong over four decades later. Family is key to serving up and ensuring the consistency of service and unsurpassed quality. This commitment has led to unimaginable growth from those first days back in the home kitchen. From a small-town grocery begun back in the ’70s., Prasek’s has become a major player in the Texas world of roadside superstores, now with two great locations, each offering over 100 smoked meat items, more than 100 different fresh-baked delicacies, a specialty meat market, a dine-in restaurant, specialty food items, ice cream shop, clothing selection and vast array of outdoor fixtures and curated gifts.
Hold on. That’s not all. In the tradition of Mike and Betty Jo, the Prasek’s brand expanded Into other growth areas beyond retail. The popularity of their smoked meat products facilitated demand across the region, leading to the wholesale distribution division, including Prasek’s own label of smoked sausages and jerky now sold around the country. Prasek’s is also one of Texas’s leading wild game processors known to hunters far and wide. As product and service demand grew via expanding influence and the popular mall-order catalog, the family met the challenge by building Prasek’s own major meat processing facility in El Campo, Texas, securing unhindered growth opportunities well into the future.
Happy. Welcome. Well fed. A few of the many Texas hospitality demands Betty Jo insisted of her family when hosting guests. Today it’s the same, if not stronger. Mike, Sr. still keeps watch around the stores delighting customers with smiles, storytelling and the frequent free cookie for the kids.
The Prasek’s brand is taking time-proven family recipes, dedication to freshness and quality and warm welcomes into the next phase of pure Texas greatness.