BBQ Train – Our History

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shortstop1970’s the corner of 10th Street and Smith Road was a wooded ravine with a small rental home, owned by Tim Ellis, a local realtor. In late 1978, Dave Trueblood and Dick Huffman (the owner of the Johnson Creamery which operated until 1987) approached Tim about opening a neighborhood grocery on this corner, and in 1979, the first Short Stop Food Mart opened.

At this time George Huntington was working at the night owl at the corner of 17th and Indiana and was approached by Dave and Dick to come manage the store, George agreed and by 1985 had bought out the original partner’s, added gas and operated what has become a Bloomington Landmark for over 30 years.

short-stop-crewIn the 1980’s Short Stop was the hangout for the local kids during the summer months enjoying the latest in video entertainment, Pac-man and Asteroids. Managers and employees included Darla, Debbie, and Kenny. The same year gas was added, a group of investors including, Jerry Gates, Mel Richardson, Bud Wyman, Mary Hartle, Charles Kelly, Thomas Gibbs and Patrick Duginske purchased the property and added the Eastside Mini Warehouses.

Since then, Short Stop has had some good and bad years. The reconstruction of 10th street and the railroad trestle on Smith Road almost ended its very existence.

In 2000 the original partners sold their interest in the real estate to Eastside Investments, LLC whose members included Chris Smith and Whitney Gates, by 2005 Chris had bought out his partner in the real estate and George’s interest in Short Stop Food Mart.

This was the year Short Stop closed for a summer to add branded gasoline (Sunoco) including some renovations such as a new canopy, modern gas pumps and sales counter. Then disaster hit, the financial crisis and a huge spike in gasoline prices drove the store operator into bankruptcy leaving empty shelves and gas tanks.