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Stratford centennial

Businesses of today,   pp. 222-242

Page 223

Becher Feeds has always sold Purina Chows. In 1982 Al
purchased a Silopress for ensiling forage into large bags.
There are now two Unipresses (just a different name) operat-
ing in the area during the growing and harvesting season.
Custom barn painting is another service offered using a lift
truck. Al's son, Richard, is now managing the mill.
In the 1960s, eleven acres of this land were sold to the
Stratford Board of Education for our present high school. It
had formerly been planted in cucumbers which were har-
vested with the help of local children.
Becher's TV
Construction of Becher's TV Store in Stratford, Wiscon-
sin was started on October 11, 1954. The 28'x52' building is
located at 207 East Elm Street and consists of two levels: a
store area and a repair shop on the ground floor, and living
quarters for the family on the second floor. An attached garage
was built on the west side. Construction was completed in
early April of 1955.
Walter (Wally) Becher, owner, spent his early years in
Stratford and graduated from the local high school. After
completing an electronics course at DeForest School in Chi-
cago, he was employed there by the Zenith Corporation. In
1942 he enlisted in the Navy and served for 3 1/2 years. Fol-
lowing his discharge, he enrolled at Tri-State College of En-
gineering, at Angola, Indiana, and graduated in 1950 with a
B.S. degree in Engineering. He was then employed in the en-
gineering department of the J.P. Seeburg Corporation of Chi-
cago for four years.
The 1950's brought an increased demand for TVs in the
home, so Wally decided to start a store for the sales and service
of TVs and radios in the Stratford area. RCA and Philco TVs,
radios, and phonographs were handled, as well as TV towers
and antennas. Many tubes and parts were also stocked for the
service department. "Elvis" was becoming popular at this
time, so a good supply of "45" and '33 1/3" records were a
must. A white line, consisting of refrigerators, ranges, freez-
ers, washers and dryers was also added, but floor space was
limited, so the white line was discontinued after several years.
The demand for more electronic items grew and so the
business expanded, both in sales and in service work.
In 1957, the General Telephone Company designated the
Becher store as the payment center for their customers in this
area. "It was a lot of extra work, but it was also a good way to
meet many of the people in this area," said the Bechers. This
service continued until 1987 when the telephone company
decided to have their patrons mail their payments directly to
their home office.
The Becher store became the pick-up station for the
Quick Dry Cleaners of Marshfield in 1958. This service still
continues, but under the cleaning services of Judges Cleaners
of Marshfield.
In July of 1960, Elaine, (Wally's wife) added a complete
line of Infant Gifts and Children's Ready-to-Wear to the sales
area. Greeting cards and religious articles were also added.
The attached garage area was now used for extra space. Mrs.
Helen Bean of Stratford became an employee at this time.
One of Helen's amusing moments came when she was
waiting on a potential customer during the holidays. The man,
accompanied by his god-child, was planning topurchase a gift
for the little girl. While showing some of the Holiday dresses,
Helen asked the young girl if she would like a particular velvet
jumper she was holding. The youngster very seriously replied,
"No, I don't do much jumping- so I don't think I would need
a jumper."
The advent of Color TV meant more floor space was
needed, so after 13 years, the children's wear department was
closed out. Color TVs were now in demand and sales and
service work increased. The Becher children helped out in

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