BALLINGER– Celebrating Shoppin’ Baskit’s founding manager James Pechal, last Friday, December 13, 2013 a host of friends, churches, employees, schools, associations and organizations gathered at the grocery store, to say thank you and good bye after his 22 years of managing and service.

Pechal, who came to Ballinger to open the store, leaves behind an “impeccable record, character and work ethic,” according to store owner Dennis Stroebel.

“It has been a great pleasure and you have a done a great service to this community,” said Ballinger City Mayor Sam Mallory.

Originally from Houston, Texas, Pechal used to travel to Ballinger hauling watermelons, and that’s how he got to meet the store owner. In January of 1991 Pechal was the store’s first manager, opening for business at the corner of Ninth Street and Railroad Avenue.

With a soaring demand of products and services the store moved in 1994 to its current location, at the corner of Hutchings and Broadway.

Pechal and Shoppin’ Baskit’s commitment to non-profits, churches, clubs and organizations, schools and more are widely know in Ballinger and beyond.

Among others presenting Pechal with cards of thanks and good-bye presents were Ballinger ISD, Ballinger Elementary School, Ballinger Junior High, the Band Booster Club, Carnegie Library Board, Ballinger Fire Department, Ballinger Rotary Club, West Central Wireless, store owner Dennis Stroebel, Ballinger Chamber of Commerce, county officials, several churches, the Ballinger Ministerial Alliance, Ballinger Noon Lions Club and the City of Ballinger issuing a proclamation of Friday, December 13, 2013 as “James Pechal Day.”

Friday was James’ last day at Shoppin’ Baskit. He will be retiring and moving to Washington state to be with his wife who has spent the last four years taking care of her parents.