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'It's all out of love:' Fruitport couple celebrates one year of barbecue food truck business

Smoke N' Ash's debuted exactly a year ago at the very first Spring Lake Sparkle, an event that Alex said changed their lives and the village as a whole.

FRUITPORT, Mich. — Starting a business is already a challenge, but for one Fruitport couple, they decided to take it on in the same year as the pandemic and the birth of their son, and they both say they wouldn't change a thing.

Brad Ashcraft and his wife, Alex, picked a busy time to open a food truck last December. 

"We got married in 2020, our son was born in 2020, and the business started in 2020," said Alex.

"It's been quite the journey," Brad added, "but it's been fun."

With Brad's long history in the restaurant business, culinary degree, and new found love for smoking meat, the couple created their mobile barbecue, Smoke N' Ash's (with the pun intended because of their last name.)

"It's really a dream come true," Brad said. "I worked, and worked, and worked, and it was all out of love because it really is my passion."

A passion supported by his wife and family even during an unprecedented year. 

"We thought, 'let's try to find the good in it,'" Alex said, "so yeah it was scary with COVID-19, and having a baby during that time while trying to open a business." 

But the couple saw the opportunity and didn't want to wait.

"There was kind of a niche for food trucks during the pandemic," said Alex, "so it was a good way for us to get in to catering and pop-ups and everything because people couldn't go out to eat."

Smoke N' Ash's debuted exactly a year ago at the very first Spring Lake Sparkle, an event that Alex said changed their lives and the village as a whole.

"It definitely makes Spring Lake more than just a passing-through town," Alex said, "and Sparkle will always just have such a special place in my heart."

As the Ashcraft's and their food truck return to the Sparkle event for their second year, they said they can't help but be grateful for their community and customers that allow them to do what they love.

"We were a little crazy, and we didn't get a lot of sleep sometimes," said Alex, "but we kept thinking if we can make it through this, then hopefully we can make it through anything."

"It just makes me realize what we're capable of as humans," Brad added. "It doesn't matter what's going on in the world around you, if you have a goal and you put your mind to it, you can do whatever you want."

Smoke N' Ash's food truck will be at Spring Lake Sparkle every Friday and Saturday until Christmas.

You can follow their latest schedule on their Facebook page by clicking here. To get in touch with them, email smokenashscatering@gmail.com.

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