BBQGuys

Customer service representatives handle business at online retailer BBQGuys. The Baton Rouge-based online retailer of barbecue grills, outdoor kitchens and patio furniture said it will nearly double the number of customer support employees, going from 56 to 106.

BBQGuys, a Baton Rouge-based online retailer of barbecue grills, outdoor kitchens and patio furniture, is expanding its sales operations and nearly doubling the number of customer support employees over two years.

The company said it will hire 50 more workers in the online sales operation. The jobs will have an average annual salary of $41,600, not including benefits. This will bring the number of customer support employees to 106.

Officials with the state's economic development department estimates that the additional hiring will lead to the creation of 22 indirect jobs in metro Baton Rouge. 

Louisiana Economic Development is making its workforce training program available to the company and will help it with a job fair at Baton Rouge Community College in October. The company said it hopes to hire 20 people to start online sales training in November, so the workers will be ready to go after Mardi Gras, when business starts to pick up for BBQGuys. The remaining customer support employees will be hired over a two-year period. 

Mike Hackely founded the company 20 years ago. Since then, BBQGuys has grown from two employees to 189. Hackley said the company is set to post $130 million in revenue this year.

Hackley started a spin-off business, Blaze Outdoor Products. Blaze engineers and manufactures grills, smokers and drawers.

BBQGuys has made Inc. magazine’s annual list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the U.S. for 12 consecutive years, with the company generating 59% growth in the past three years. 

The company is also participating in eBay’s Retail Revival Baton Rouge program, which is offering one year of free training to dozens of local small businesses so they can learn to grow their customer bases more through online sales.

Email Timothy Boone at tboone@theadvocate.com.