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Sarasota Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009 11 years ago

Taste of success

by: Robin Roy City Editor

Despite suffering a couple of setbacks that could have crippled other businesses, Nancy Krohngold, owner of Nancy’s Bar-B-Q, keeps dishing out her signature barbecue pork.

“I’m not going to lay down and die,” she said. “You keep changing course, and you keep moving on.”

One-and-one-half years ago, Krohngold was serving her North Carolina-style pulled pork on the roadside at 13th Street and East Avenue, but the state shut her down, even though she was applying for a license.

Then, last year, she began planning to move into the former Kay’s Barbeque on Central Avenue. She even put nearly $10,000 of improvements into the place, but, once again, she ran into problems.

Property owner Wes Roberts was foreclosed upon, and when the bank seized the property last December, it took control of all the equipment Krohngold installed.

“I was all dressed up with no place to go,” she said. “The legal advice I got was that there was no point in fighting it.”

What Krohngold found is that she had built a strong and loyal customer base, which was ready follow her wherever she went — even if that location is an abandoned gas station at Ringling Boulevard and Pineapple Avenue.

She doesn’t do any advertising aside from what she calls guerilla marketing — e-mail, social networking Web sites and word of mouth. On Twitter, for example, Krohngold posts “tweets” about where hungry fans can find her food next — some tweets promise free dessert if mentioned.

“Some people say it’s the best pulled pork they’ve ever had,” she said. “It doesn’t taste like anything else in the area.”

From 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, Krohngold’s catering truck can be found in the part-gravel, part-asphalt parking lot on Ringling. The rest of her time is spent doing private catering.

Although her regular customers keep her coming back to the parking lot, Krohngold said her ultimate goal is to have her own downtown restaurant. She’s not after a huge restaurant but rather something modest — what she calls a “barbecue joint.”

“One of these years, I’m going to be an overnight success,” she joked.

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