A letter to customers on this, the 20th anniversary.

February 3rd, 2002 | The day it all started.

From being in two different locations in DeKalb to now, the permanent home in Sycamore, it’s been a crazy ride. I seriously cannot believe it all. As I sit here typing this out, it’s definitely taking me back. 20 years is a long time.

As some of you know, the location in Sycamore was not planned. I thought the location in DeKalb was going to be there forever. But life doesn’t always go the way you want it. I will say that restarting here in Sycamore has been one of the best things that has happened to me both personally and professionally. 20 years ago, I was just a kid and a trouble-maker. When the Sycamore location launched back in 2014, I had all the confidence in the world that it would be succeed despite the skepticism of some.

Because of dedication, many of you followed me to the other side of town after that. That meant a lot. Regardless of whether you are a new customer or one that has been there since the beginning, I never took anyone that came into the door for granted. All of you have 1,079 other stores in the area that you can shop at and the fact that you choose to come here instead is the greatest compliment I could get. From those who have been there since Day One all the way to the present, thank you very much. I cannot express this gratitude enough.

This isn’t just a job for me. I’ve had plenty of those back in high school and college. But this is something I love doing. I’ve made it my career. You may see some posts or videos I post and think “this dude is odd.” Well, you’re right. I’m all sorts of odd. It’s because I like to have fun at my job. If I am any other way, it doesn’t thrive the way it’s supposed to. That’s what a job is supposed to be. If you aren’t satisfied where you’re at, go somewhere else that does make you feel that way.

I want to thank current and past employees. They have put up with me and that is not easy. If you worked for me, enjoyed doing so and are reading this, thank you. As I tell every one when they start, that if you don’t want to be part of this journey and take this store to the promised land, take your ass home. Most stuck around and contributed to what the store has become today.

While I’m on the topic of employees, please do me a favor and thank Jackie, the one who runs my store when I’m scrambling around the place. She is one of the hardest working people I know. She has been on board four years and working for me that long, you would think she has serious issues. I am not an easy boss to deal with most of the time. So again, please show her gratitude next time you see her.

In closing, I feel all of you are my friends and family. I have done everything in my power to not only save you money, but be respectful every time you walk in this place. Certainly, there were exceptions during my tough days years ago. But this place doesn’t exist without each and every one of you. I am truly blessed and thankful for all of the support you have given me. Forever, this is The Best In The Smoker’s World LLC. Here’s to 20 more.

– Muhammad Mustafa | Owner

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