The owners of BBQGuys, one of Baton Rouge’s homegrown success stories and an early leader nationwide in online retail, have sold the company they founded in 1998 to an undisclosed buyer group.
Mike Hackley, who co-founded the company with Ladina Hackley as a brick-and-mortar retailer that sold barbecue grills, declined to discuss the new owner. However, Jason Stutes, who joined BBQGuys in 2005 and is currently vice president of marketing and e-commerce, is staying on in his current position and confirms the sale.
Stutes says it’s premature to discuss the deal or the plans the new ownership group has for the company, which reported more than 260 employees and revenues of nearly $131 million in Business Report’s 2020 Top 100 private companies list, where it ranked No. 42.
But he confirms the acquisition and says, “We are extremely excited about what the future holds for both BBQGuys and Blaze Outdoor Products. The best is yet to come.”
Blaze Outdoor Products is a manufacturing arm of the company that makes barbecue grills.
Hackley, in a Facebook post, and longtime company executive Corey Tisdale, in a phone interview, also confirm the deal. Though they defer to Stutes for details, Tisdale says the sale had been discussed periodically for some time and that the deal came together over the past few months.
“I think we just found some good people who are going to do awesome stuff,” he says. “Once they start announcing their plans, everyone is going to see how great of an opportunity this is for everybody.”
The company will remain headquartered in Baton Rouge, Tisdale says.
In his Facebook post, Hackley describes the sale as “bittersweet,” saying, “We have grown a family here not a company and I love each and every one of you. I would like to thank every one of the employees, past and present, for your dedication and loyalty. We sold both companies today and I have to say what an awesome ride it has been. All I can say at this point is wow!”
BBQGuys has grown considerably since it was founded as The Grill Store and More, a brick-and-mortar store that shifted to an all-online model in the early days of the internet and grew to become one of the largest online retailers of grills and other outdoor products in the country.
For several years, it did business under the name shopperschoice.com, a site that had multiple brands of outdoor products under it. In early 2019, it consolidated all its websites under the BBQGuys.com brand, also rebranding its showroom on North Airline Drive.
Tisdale says he’s not sure what’s next for him, now that the company has changed hands. In the short term, he plans to spend more time fishing.
“That’s not forever,” he says. “But I don’t have anything lined up at the moment.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated since its first publication to correct the title and role of Jason Stutes in the company moving forward, and his role in the sale. Daily Report regrets the error.