The Hickory Stik receives Small Business Award
Tuesday, November 01, 2022
Aaron Bruce and business partners chose to open a new barbeque restaurant in Hutchinson, as the partners were having success in McPherson with Woods BBQ. They found and renovated a building in downtown Hutchinson in 2017 and opened Hickory Stik with 9 employees. The shifts have grown in duration and has the number of employees to 15. Besides adding employees, they have added to their menu, a new smoker, and new fryers to keep up with their growth.
According to Aaron, not all BBQ is the same. Hickory Stik creates their own seasonings for meats, and they believe you’re going to have a more unique product than other BBQ because it is prepared and presented in a different way. They continue to adopt new menu items and rotate menu options, but you can always get your staple BBQ items.
Like everyone else, Hickory Stik was also faced with huge operational challenges due to Covid. They went from a full catering calendar to an empty catering calendar in the matter of weeks. They also had to close their store front for two months. The were able to reopen the restaurant on May 5th and the community made a large impact on their success of reopening. Their business continues to grow today. Staffing, supply chain, and food costs continue to be challenging, but they work through it.
Hickory Stik has been able to keep many of their employees around since the beginning because of Aaron’s leadership philosophy. He doesn’t ask any staff to do a job he doesn’t continue to do, including cleaning grease traps and smokers, taking out the trash, and sweeping the floors.
Hickory Stik is very involved with the area schools in Reno County and helps them out by donating gift cards and food. He enjoys doing special events and he really loves donating to the First Responders. He also enjoys seeing the students, their families, and first responders dining in the restaurant.
To sum it all up, Hickory Stik offers premium BBQ at the best possible price. Their customers receive a warm welcome and feel appreciated during their dining and catering experiences. Aaron is pretty sure, his small business is most deserving of the Small Business of the Month because of his chocolate covered bacon that is served at select events.