On February 29, 2016, a new grocery store, Arlan’s, opened in the space that was the longtime home of Crestview Minimax IGA. Minimax (and Crestview Food Mart before it) was owned by the Prellop family—beginning with Herb Prellop, right—and part of Crestview Shopping Center for 63 years. It was the last Minimax IGA store in Austin.
In 2014, Minimax was named Critics Best Neighborhood Grocery Store by the Austin Chronicle, the store’s third such award since 1992. As part of its service to the community, Minimax had a long-standing tradition of hiring local teenagers as checkers and baggers and delivering groceries to elderly and disabled customers.
Hundreds of neighbors, family, and friends gathered at the center to celebrate the Prellop family and Crestview Minimax IGA on Sunday afternoon, March 6, 2016.
Speaking in the video: John Halaburt, President, Brentwood Neighborhood Association; Dave Considine, President, Crestview Neighborhood Association; Dave Ward, Vice-Chair, Midtown Commons Neighborhood Association; Mike McChesney, Board Member, Violet Crown Community Works; and Ronnie Prellop, Owner, Crestview Minimax IGA. (Video by Rob Burneson)
Ronnie—son of Herb Prellop, who died in 1991—remembers his dad as “a very friendly, outgoing, ambitious man who also was very caring. He grew up during the Depression and knew what it was to need. He’d never let anybody go hungry.” Crestview neighbor Bill Williamson, who created the eight-foot-wide sheet metal star at the top of the Texas Capitol rotunda in Austin, remembered Herb as a good neighbor to him, as well as to the community. When Bill ran short on money to buy groceries for his growing family, Herb made sure he had what he needed, and he did the same for other neighbors. That’s why Bill shopped at Minimax the 60 years he lived here.
Minimax generously supported the Violet Crown Festival since the first one in 2003, donating unique items for the silent auction and needed supplies. The first five festivals raised funds for the mosaic Wall of Welcome. Ronnie and other shopping center owners gave their approval for the wall to be installed on their property and for the wall dedication (2008) and fall Violet Crown Festivals (2008 and 2009) to be held there. (Wall artist Jean Graham created the store’s mosaic, left.) Ronnie also donated ice cream for the annual Crestview Neighborhood Association Ice Cream Social.
And, for Rob and me, Ronnie has been an invaluable part of our Voices of the Violet Crown community/history project. He shared great stories about the people and places of our neighborhood and the shopping center with us. We include video clips and quotes from our oral history interview with him below and elsewhere on the website, and we donated a DVD of his interview to the Austin History Center.
In 1953, Herb Prellop and a partner established the Crestview Food Mart in the space where Crestview Pharmacy is today. Herb became sole owner in 1956, the store moved a few spaces north, and it became Crestview Minimax. Like his brother and sisters, Herb’s oldest son Ronnie began working there as soon as he was “tall enough to look over the sacks.” The store joined the Independent Grocers’ Alliance—IGA—in 1985, to provide better service and savings to its customers. After Herb died in 1991, Ronnie managed the store until its sale to Arlan’s. (Ronnie will continue as co-owner of Crestview Shopping Center.)
In the 60s and 70s, Ronnie Prellop studied guitar with well-known local instructor Wayne Wood and formed two bands, Ronnie and the West Winds (Ronnie, wearing glasses, with the group, right) and Country Road. The groups played in and around Austin at the Skyline, Lumberyard, Dessau Hall, and other popular venues. Sonobeat Records recorded two of the West Winds’ songs in 1968. Check out audio clips here.
More recently, Ronnie performed with Roger Beck’s band at the Wall of Welcome dedication in March 2008 and at the fall Violet Crown Festivals held at Crestview Shopping Center in 2008 and 2009. Ronnie sang Folsom Prison Blues with the band Pissant Farmers at the Minimax celebration. Roger Beck also was a barber at Crestview Barber Shop.
The clips below are from our interview with Ronnie at Minimax on March 9, 2008.
What changes have you seen over the years?
What would you like neighbors to know about the store in 2008?
Tell us how you were involved in country music in the 60s and 70s.
We’re grateful to the Prellop family and Crestview Minimax IGA for 63 years of serving our neighborhood and are happy to report that Arlan’s is continuing in Minimax’s longtime tradition. Welcome, Arlan’s!