The Shack has new owners
By Jessica Coleman
The Shack in LaSalle has long been more than just a bar to most of its patrons. People who convene there do so as if it is a family reunion. They lean on their friends. They drink a beer or four. They play pool, listen to music, share their achievements, problems, and love.
Willie and Kim Chandler have been regulars at the small-town bar for years. It’s just a few minutes from their home and is full to the brim with familiar friendly faces.
Last month, they became the new owners of the place.
“We had always kind of talked about it,” said Kim, and one night I went up to say hi to the previous owners, and I just told them, ‘Hey, if you ever get ready to sell this place, would you talk to me and Willie?’”
The purchase was a dream come true, until New Year’s Eve threw a hiccup at them. Mid-evening, Kim suddenly didn’t feel well. Her sister Leslie Miller first noticed something was wrong as a group of them was singing karaoke.
“We were singing Bohemian Rhapsody,” said Miller. “And I noticed she had stopped singing.”
Afterwards, as Kim sat at the table, those around her noticed that she couldn’t seem to get her hand on her wine glass. They knew she hadn’t been drinking yet because she had been working. After a trip to the restroom and a quick evaluation, Miller realized that her sister was having a stroke.
In the middle of karaoke night, just 19 days after becoming the owners of the place they love, Kim and Willie had to climb one of the biggest mountains of their lives.
Thanks to the quick thinking of her loved ones, Kim received medical attention very soon after her symptoms began, and she came home just a couple of weeks after being hospitalized.
Now, she is back to greeting those she loves at the bar - with water in her cup, since she hasn’t been cleared to drink alcohol. She cries when she sees people she knows, and while she apologizes for the tears, everyone around her is just grateful she is still around to cry. Willie holds her as she wipes her tears on his shirt, and Leslie whispers reassurances. Friends come to excitedly greet her as she sees them for the first time since her stroke.
The couple and their loved ones are grateful for the community that not only got her help, but is supporting her as she heals. To them, The Shack isn’t just a business. It is a family, and family always has each other’s backs.
The Shack is open seven days a week, and offers live music, karaoke, pool tour- naments, and more. It is located at 2049 FM 616 in La Salle, and serves 21 different beers as well as Lavaca Bluffs wine.