Mike Ptacek knows nearly everyone in the community by their first name, and has cultivated that skill with such decorum that he has united a community to feel like an extended part of the Ptacek family. There is no one in this little town of Prescott that hasn’t made an effort to support the Ptaceks’, and likewise, there has been no one that hasn’t been the beneficiary of their gracious giving support of the entire community.

If there was ever a business model of success to be emulated, it would be the Ptackes IGA meat and grocery store. Though they are known by their reputation for an outstanding meat department, it has been their people skills and ability to build customer relationships that have distinguished this business for more than 100 years.

On a personal note, I recall going into their store some thirty plus years ago—as nearly a perfect stranger—noticing a sense of anxiety and panic behind the meat counter. They had advertised a big "pork loin sale" that had out-responded their anticipation. So I asked Mike if I could be of some help by running up to S. St Paul, to Iowa Pork Industries (I.P.I.) to retrieve a few boxes of pork loins from their cold storage warehouse. (Now, remember, I worked for I.P.I., but not in sales.)

This was a brand new experience for me, but back I came with a pick-up load of pork loins. The moral of the story: Never back away from an opportunity to help, as it can pay dividends far beyond that of the "bottom line".

From that point on our relationship has always been one of trust and a hand-shake. Not only was there no price established for the pork loins, I.P.I. suggestively insinuated that I might be a better hog salesman than I was a hog buyer!

On several occasions, I remember sending my auction crew up to the Ptaceks store for lunch and groceries throughout the day. They were like kids in a candy store, as their cost was nothing more than their signature—an element of trust that was foreign to most of their personal/business relationships.

But the most meaningful auction regarding the Ptacek family was a fund raiser for Mike’s son Nick. Nick was stricken with a very serious neurological disorder in his adolescence years. Thankfully, he has fully recovered, and is now a major contributor to the Ptacek family management team.

In typical Ptacek/Community relationships, the entire community — led by the Prescott high school, rallied in support of the Ptacek family. This was an out-pouring of love and concern for a very special family in our community.

As in this and all other related associations, I’m proud to acknowledge and respectfully honor this special family on this — their 100 year celebration.

"PONY TALES by" Ponty is written by Ken E. Knight, the author of the “Knightro Report”, a nationally syndicated livestock-marketing column, which is featured in the "Farm And Livestock Directory" every month.