Recounting the Journey of Starting The Joinery

By Rj Walters

Many new Lakelanders marvel at the artisan food options and the thriving community that has been built at The Joinery, and longtime locals can even remember a time when there were less dining spots in the entire downtown than there are in this standalone facility.

Since opening more than three years ago, The Joinery has garnered a 4.6-star rating on more than 1,800 Google reviews and established itself as a favorite spot for trivia, bingo and late-night socials.

But The Joinery’s ascent to prominence in the Central Florida foodie scene was not quick and easy, and in fact it was down right challenging. It was a huge space that had been home to past businesses that fizzled out for a variety of reasons, and the opening of a spot that is like our own local Armature Works ran head-on into a pandemic. Yet today, The Joinery offers up eight unique food options and a fun and colorful flower shop.

Oftentimes small business owners want to know the “secret sauce” or the 5- or 10-step method that will ensure their success. The “experts” (which many of you reading this are in your own right!) will say a lot of it is hiring the right people, good targeted marketing and having a strategic vision that ultimately propels you to profitably, but the truth is that good businesses often have much messier, unpredictable paths to success with motivated people steering the ship wherever the wind blows.

So how did The Joinery get off the ground and make its mark as an iconic Lakeland spot? Thankfully for interested onlookers, owners Jon and Sarah Bucklew hit the “record” button to document their journey of demolition, OMG moments, early wins and finding hope amongst constant surprises. They recorded and released a 7-part video series on their website and YouTube.

Today, with the business playing a major role in an area town that has been revitalized in recent years, have some fun going down memory lane and see what you might learn or even nod your head about when it comes to the roller coaster ride of being an entrepreneur.

Watch the first video of “The Joinery” below and check out the whole series here.