Progress: Sugar Hill BBQ

by | June 4, 2014 10:35 am

Last Updated: June 4, 2014 at 10:41 am

sugarhill5-bestoneAlonzo “Al Conyers” Witherspoon’s neighbors on Oak Grove Church Road know when he’s working: They can smell the barbecue for miles around.

Witherspoon is the third generation of his grandfather’s family to run Sugar Hill BBQ, a business Moise Conyers founded in 1910. His father took over in 1940, and Witherspoon is already training his nephew.

“We opened at this location – 3006 Oak Grove Church Road – on Labor Day weekend in 2011,” Witherspoon said. “Our old location, Sugar Hill, which is where we get our name, it burned down, so we decided to put up a new shed here.”

Witherspoon didn’t always work full-time in the barbecue business.

“I would help a little bit with my dad, but I also worked in Kingstree as a plant supervisor for eight years,” he said.

Witherspoon grew up in the Sugar Hill community, from where his company gets its name. He was a 1973 Manning High School graduate.

“It’s hard sometimes to have your own business, but it’s nice to make your own hours and be your own boss,” he said. “It’s very rewarding. We try to do a lot for the community who has done so much for us.”

Witherspoon said he loves the “old timers” who come in and talk about his dad and grandfather.

“I enjoy hearing their stories,” he said. “They always make me smile.”

Seeing his customers smile also makes Witherspoon smile.

“My thing is pleasing people,” he said. “When they walk away with a happy smile, or you see them smile after that first bite, that’s one of the best things about this business.”

He said he’ll probably stay with the business until the Lord takes him.

“I will cook as long as my life lasts,” he said. “I cook in my free time, or I read on cooking. Cooking is my life.”

Aside from barbecue, Sugar Hill also prepares ribs and chicken, and also caters events.

“We have eight graduation parties coming up,” said Cynthia Witherspoon, Al’s wife. “We also have an outdoor kitchen that we set up, so we can take it where we need to go.”

The day begins early and usually ends late.

“We’re open Friday and Saturday, and we get started at 6 a.m., and we’ll be here til late that night,” Al said.

Sugar Hill Barbecue is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, call (803) 473-1227.

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