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March 7, 2014

Buffington’s new ownership brings the family together

MILLEDGEVILLE —

Buffington’s has a successful niche in downtown Milledgeville. 

Longtime owner Charles Cruey passed off a well-oiled machine to new ownership last December.

The Hufstetler family completed an eight-month wait for an enviable business opportunity. Brothers Dave and Mike Jr. together with father Mike Sr. couldn’t slow down.

“The morning we bought it we all walked to the bank and came back across the street,” Dave said. “Buffington’s was open for lunch, and we owned it.”

Mike Jr., who moved his family to Milledgeville from Atlanta for Buffington’s, said it best.

“We bought a spinning wheel that we had to keep spinning immediately. There was no slow or down time for planning,” he said. “We bought this in motion and had to keep it that way.”

Cruey stayed as a liaison for 30 days.

“(Cruey) built a very good business with an established reputation, and one of the things that helped him decide to go through with the sale is the fact that he saw we wanted to work it as a family,” Mike Sr. said. “He wanted to make sure there was a good transition, and as far as I’m concerned, he went above and beyond after the closing.”

The Hufstetlers have finally caught up with the wheel after three months of ownership. Nearly 30 employees taught the owners standard operating procedures.

With all the pieces laid out, the Hufstetlers are completing a “more organized” picture without losing the old artist’s reputation.

Buffington’s is seeing incremental changes to the menu and beer selection most notably. The Hufstetlers are using the craft beer movement.

“We really just got in and did a lot of research using some of our guys behind the bar with a lot of experience and picked out some really top quality beers,” Mike Jr. said. “We try to keep a balance in the whole selection. Everybody has a different beer they want.”

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