Uncle Mike's Backyard BBQ

If there is one thing that “Uncle Mike” knows, it’s how to barbeque. For over a decade Mike Robinson’s, friends, coworkers, and neighbors have savored the taste of his cooking and as of late August, Camp Hill and Mechanicsburg residents now have that same privilege.

“I’ve been feeding people for years ... I just haven’t been getting paid for it. I figured, that if everyone is eating it, then they must like it. Why not sell it?”

Uncle Mike and his business partner/wife, Denise Stransbury, knew it would be challenging to open and run a new business. For this reason, they sought help from the Shippensburg Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for guidance through the process.

Partnering with SBDC consultant Cheryl Young, Mike and Denise finalized their business plan and completed financial projections. They quickly found that securing sufficient financing to cover start-up costs could pose an obstacle.

“Working with the SBDC gave us the confidence to go out and talk to the banks. Cheryl helped out a lot and did a lot of the leg work. I felt prepared to go to the banks,” said Uncle Mike.

Uncle Mike soon found that it can be easy to get discouraged and frustrated in the process of opening your own small business. “Everyone out there says that you’re not going to be able to do it, or that you can’t do it. But, with the SBDC, we realized there was someone out there who wasn’t saying you can’t, they were saying you can!”

Uncle Mike’s Backyard BBQ boasts a menu of considerable variety including his top-seller pulled pork, along with shredded chicken, ribs, hamburgers, and hot dogs, among many other items. The main dishes are paired with Uncle Mike’s delicious side dishes, ranging from potato salad to collard greens. Uncle Mike’s offers dine-in, carry-out, and catering for larger events.

As far as the future is concerned, Uncle Mike knows exactly where to turn if he needs further guidance. “I tell people all the time about the SBDC,” said Mike. “The knowledge of the SBDC staff is excellent. Talking with them can help me to determine, either this is, or this isn’t the best thing to do.”