In Lynn, the Sternitzky family uses their business as a unique way to “stick together”. Once, just a winter hobby for the Sternitzky family, evolved into a fully operational business.
“I grew up on a small dairy farm out here in Clark County like a lot of people did. And it was kind of a traditional thing to make some maple syrup on your farm and whatnot. It was just something that I like doing and it’s kind of progressed year after year getting a little bit bigger.”
The owner and so called “Maple Dude”, Tim Sternitzky, says he got his passion from his father.
“I can also remember doing it with my grandpa. It’s a family business and you know, that’s been a great thing to have. I enjoy having my son Jack at the age where he, you know, can do a lot more now.”
With every part of the syrup process, 15-year-old jack is involved.
“Especially during the syrup season, we have a couple of woods now, and I like to take the four-wheeler down and collect it myself, even late at night sometimes. That was my main responsibility. Obviously bottling the syrup and making all different sorts of the products now.”
The Sternitzky ‘s draw sap in a unique way
“Our plastic tubing system is good for roughly about 15 years. In the meantime, it’s a lot of work, but it saves so much labor during the season.”
With the tubes connected to the main warehouse, gallon upon gallon of the sap is processed in-house in a process that only takes a few hours to complete.
“We use reverse osmosis, which the sap gets concentrated through that process and that makes the whole process a lot faster. We’re making probably around 50 gallons of maple syrup an hour.”
The Maple Dude has been in operation over half a decade, but Sternitzky says the roots go back even further.
“The first people that settled in this area that came over from Europe onto the land we’re at, was traced back to my family and I’m this farm out here. So that’s what I would say, since 1858.”
Like many new businesses, though, the Maple Dude has experienced growing pains.
“Probably some of the biggest challenges are just developing sales. You can make the syrup, but I honestly think it’s harder to market it and sell it and develop markets for it to sell it.”
However, in his first-year full time as a business last year, Tim says sales and production were record breaking.
“This year we had the biggest season ever of all time. The season started out slow and it looked like it was going to be a poor maple season for production wise, and I was getting quite worried. And then it just turned 180 degrees the other direction, and we actually had the biggest season, so it all went well.”
Aside from their physical location in Lynn, Maple Dude products and merchandise can be purchased on their website as well as from leading retailers like amazon.