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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Thursday, Jul. 23, 2020 2 years ago

Barbecue business opens amid pandemic, builds following

Pinecraft Barbecue, selling and renting a range of grills and smokers, has opened just in time for summer barbecues.

Along with some other home-based hobbies, barbecuing has gotten a bump during the pandemic. Although opening a business during a pandemic isn’t ideal, Pinecraft Barbecue Supply in Sarasota might be benefiting from more folks spending time at home and firing up the grill.

Melvin Stoltzfus owns Pinecraft Barbecue with Wayne and LeAnna Miller, who run day-to-day operations. Stoltzfus tells Coffee Talk that earlier during the pandemic, the bottom fell out of the barbecue business, but now it’s starting to come back. “It’s been really, really good,” he says. “People are indeed staying home for obvious reasons. I think there’s a lot of money to be spent for local economies.”

Courtesy. Pinecraft Barbecue Supply in Sarasota opened June 26.

Pinecraft Barbecue’s first official day was June 26, and the business has already built an audience, with hundreds of email and social media followers. “I’ve been very happy with response we’ve had so far,” Stoltzfus says. “There seems to be a lot of buzz to have this type of store there.”

Pinecraft Barbecue gets its name from its location in the Pinecraft neighborhood, a destination for people who are Amish and Mennonite. The company sells a range of grills and smokers — everything from small charcoal grills to 20-foot smoker trailers, Stoltzfus says. The store offers grilling supplies and components for outdoor kitchens. Customers can also rent grills and smokers, a business avenue the company thinks will appeal to snowbirds.

Stoltzfus, also an owner of barbecue equipment manufacturer Meadow Creek Welding in Lancaster, Penn., says a family friend used to represent Meadow Creek in the area. After he passed away, Stoltzfus says the company wanted to continue to have representation in Sarasota. That’s where the initial inspiration for Pinecraft Barbecue came from. From there, Stoltzfus started researching a location, buying a building and fixing it up.

Pinecraft Barbecue is the main business in its building on Bahia Vista Street. A Mako custom cabinetry showroom, also run by the Millers, and dance studio Soul Studios also occupy the building. Right outside, an ice cream trailer dubbed Ann Marie’s Southern Cream is gaining fans too.It’s a neat little business center,” Stoltzfus says. “Everything just complements each other. So far that’s been working out really well.”

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