The Grill Store & More
For as much success as BBQ Guys has generated as an e-commerce company, we actually began as a humble brick-and-mortar store amid the online shopping revolution. The Grill Store & More, founded by Mike and Ladina Hackley in 1998, did exactly what its name promised — provided outdoor cooking and living products to the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, area. Within 2 years, the business opened a New Orleans location to serve a greater portion of Southeast Louisiana. But even as The Grill Store & More took off, the Hackleys couldn’t ignore the endless possibilities presented by the emerging world of online shopping.
They responded to the quickly changing business landscape by launching BBQ Guys.com in 2000. As we continued to expand beyond grills and outdoor cooking products, our focus pivoted to becoming the e-commerce destination for all outdoor living needs. BBQ Guys.com was joined by sister sites UltimatePatio.com and GasLogGuys.com under the umbrella of ShoppersChoice.com, which soon staked its claim as the online leader for outdoor living products.
Awards & Honors
The industry began to take notice, with ShoppersChoice.com landing on the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private businesses in 2008. We then earned a spot on the Internet Retailer’s ranking of the 500 fast-growing online retailers, and we haven’t left either list for more than a decade. Along the way, ShoppersChoice.com picked up an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau that we still hold to this day.
Sounds like a storybook ending for a brick-and-mortar store, right? Well, those were only the first few chapters. We turned a huge page in early 2019 when we folded all our sister sites into the BBQ Guys brand, a move that has streamlined customer experiences by bringing all our products under a single roof. And that roof is a pretty big one — 110,000 square feet, to be exact. That’s the size of BBQ Guys’ Baton Rouge headquarters, which is home to 3 warehouses, a growing sales and support center, our showroom, an outdoor kitchen design service, and all our online operations staff.
Perhaps our proudest moment came shortly after the BBQ Guys rebrand, when the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship selected us as a National Small Business of the Week in April 2019. A few months later, the Baton Rouge Business Report named BBQGuys one of the area’s top 100 private companies for the year.
As was the case for most businesses, 2020 delivered numerous challenges to our doorstep. Foremost among them, of course, was the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced us to reconfigure our operations for the health and well-being of our employees. But that period of uncertainty was when our resolve burned brightest — over the course of a few weeks, we pivoted to a work-from-home setup for 160 employees while ensuring the continued safety of our essential, on-site personnel. We even hired dozens of new employees to keep up with rapidly increasing demand, providing jobs for the local workforce in a time of stark economic downturn.
But the strangest year in recent memory also brought some good news: our acquisition by private equity firm Brand Velocity Partners (BVP). With BVP’s brand-building muscle, BBQ Guys is on track to further cement itself as the leader in the grilling and outdoor living industry.
Manning the Grill
We couldn't tackle a project this big alone; we needed a quarterback — or two! In March, Eli and Archie Manning, legendary father-and-son NFL quarterbacks (and proud BBQ Guys investors) joined the team at BBQ Guys HQ to help launch our first ever, national television, prime time commercials. Our new "Chief Commercial Makin' Guys" will be "manning the grill" with our marketing department.'