BBQGuys creating 50 jobs, new call center to expand online sales operations

Business Report

BBQGuys is expanding online sales operations at its Baton Rouge headquarters, a move that will create 50 new direct customer support jobs with an average annual salary of $41,600, plus benefits.

The online retailer—which specializes in grills and smokers, outdoor kitchens, patio furniture and other leisure products—plans to build a new call center on its 15-acre Airline Highway campus, with Louisiana Economic Development officials estimating the project will result in another 22 indirect jobs.

During today’s announcement, BBQGuys CEO Mike Hackley said he was planning to open a call center in another state before the Baton Rouge Area Chamber told him about the LED FastStart program, which convinced him to stay in Louisiana.

“We think we can become a billion- or multibillion-dollar company,” Hackley said. “We have enough room here to build two more buildings, if we need it.”

It’s an economic development win for Baton Rouge, said BRAC CEO Adam Knapp, because the 21-year-old company will eclipse 200 jobs and reach $130 million in revenue this year. BBQGuys has ranked among Inc. magazine’s annual list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the U.S. for 12 consecutive years, generating 59% growth in the past three years. It made Business Report’s Top 100 Private Companies list this year, ranking 48th in the Capital Region.

Elected officials also touted the announcement. Calling BBQGuys a “homegrown success story,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said the expansion reflects the kind of “21st century deals” his administration aims to secure in order to have a diversified economy. Meanwhile, Mayor Sharon Weston Broome heralded the retention of BBQGuys’ 189 existing jobs in Baton Rouge, saying her administration prioritizes business retention as well as job creation.

In addition to LED FastStart, BBQGuys is also participating in eBay’s Retail Revival program in an effort to further grow its customer base through online sales. LED and BRAC will help the company recruit qualified workers for the call center.

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