The Central St. Croix Area Business of the Month for May 2017 is Schuggy’s American Grill & Taphouse. Owners Trent and Betsy Schug are natives of Glenwood City and graduated high school; Trent in 2005 and Betsy in 2007. They lived in River Falls while Betsy attended UWRF. Trent attended school for graphic design in the cities. Trent started a graphic design, website development and marketing business, Great Lakes Media, after graduated with an Associates Degree in 2008. They moved to Brainerd in early 2011 for Betsy’s job as a Soil Scientist for the NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Service), a branch of the USDA. Trent continued to operate Great Lakes Media while living in Brainerd, working to help many clients in the restaurant and hospitality industry.
Trent said, “Both Betsy and I worked in restaurants and bars throughout high school and college and owning my own was always a thought I kept on the back burner throughout my industry experience.” The opportunity to buy Barnboard from the Kremers and Borgs, the previous owners, became realistic in 2013. They took full ownership on December 19th, 2014 of BarnBoard Grill and Saloon in Roberts.
Trent took a year to settle in as the owner of BarnBoard Grill and Saloon and got his own system in place. Then he gradually made changes before completely overhauling the menu and the food with more homemade options, creativity, and higher quality ingredients. Since improving the quality and amount of love that goes into the food, the Schugg’s have seen the business grow significantly. This combined with great, consistent staff has allowed The Barnboard to continue its success.
In early 2016, Trent felt like it was time to start pursuing a second location. When JJ’s Sports Bar in Hammond went up for sale again, Trent went to take a look at this location. After assessing the investment, Trent decided that Hammond was the right location and the right property overall.
Trent explains, “I began cleaning in August and was finally able to take full ownership on October 18th, 2016. Around that time we started knocking out walls and hoped for a January 10th opening. My dad, Tom, and I usually spent 6 days a week working on the remodel, which included demolishing the walls of the old bathrooms to greatly expand the kitchen, and then moving the bathrooms to the north end of the building, as well as constructing a divider wall between the bar and new dining room, not to mention, gutting the basement to host a new beer cooler and office.”
Schuggy’s opened this past February and the kitchen officially opened on March 15th.
Trent continues, “We have had an overwhelmingly positive response so far and business has stayed very steady through our first month and a half. We are wrapping up phase 1 and will soon be moving into phase 2 which includes outdoor improvements which potentially include: parking lot and patio in the vacant north lot, volleyball courts and a bean bag area in the back, redoing the front porch and front face of the building. We have hosted 2 great bands and we are planning on regularly hosting quality entertainment at least a couple times each month.”
Trent concludes, “We look forward to providing Hammond with great food, friendly service in a beautiful and clean atmosphere.
The Central St. Croix Chamber of Commerce celebrated the May Business of the Month – Schuggy’s American Grill and Taphouse – on Thursday, May 5th with a Business After 5 and a ribbon cutting.