Hatteberg's People - Mike Becker

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On Hatteberg’s People, in the small, very small town of Mildred, Kansas – is a building that has been in one family for nearly one hundred years. For the last 60 or so years – it has been a grocery store --- now it is Mike Becker’s little store. A store he believes is not only a family asset…but an asset to the community as well.

“It’s an old general store, a mom and pop type of store. It is unique in its own way.”

As the moon begins to hide from the morning sun – it’s pretty calm on the streets of Mildred Kansas in front of Charlie Brown’s grocery store.

That’s Mike Becker working on the sandwiches in the back. His mother Patricia is up front talking with customers.

Long-time employee Marilyn Colgin…erases some of that pesky Kansas dust.

“Seems like dust comes in here no matter what you do.”

Mike’s grandfather was Charlie Brown --- that’s his picture there on the wall. He asked Mike to help him when Mike was in college…then his grandfather became ill and later died. If the store was to survive….Mike had to make it happen. He did.

“It’s like a little family you know? I don’t have any brothers and sisters, it’s just mom and me and grandma. That’s about it in this area. I just enjoy the place, trying to keep it going. I just enjoy it, a little bit at a time.”

The building was built by his great grandfather. Touched by thousands of hands of history over the years – the old building is important to Mike and his mother.

“It’s been in the family since 1912, and there is a lot of work to be done yet, but it’s also a lot of fun.”

Local folks, particularly hunters, love to come to Charlie Brown’s market in Mildred, Kansas just for the sandwiches. Mike spends hours slicing, dicing and spreading all kinds of condiments --- just the way his grandfather did.

“It’s more fun than it is work. It’s worth it in the end.”

It’s also nice to be somewhere where folks remember your family – One customer wanted to give Charlie Brown’s widow Lucille a hug. A small gesture – but huge when it comes from the heart.

It’s just a little store in Mildred, KS. But to Mike Becker and his family whose world has revolved around the building for nearly a hundred years…it is the memory of all those who came before….and a legacy worth keeping.

“I don’t consider it a job; it’s like a civic duty.”

“You have to be there for the people.”

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