It was 1994...Stamps were $0.29 — and people actually used them. OJ's police pursuit had the nation glued to their televisions. The Boys of Summer went on strike.
And Barbecue Renew, Inc. was born.
Founder Dennis Soltis, with an engineering & maintenance background and an entrepreneurial spirit, headed to the Pacific Northwest in pursuit of a fresh start — and a very special lady by the name of Andrea.
This life reboot gave way to a unique idea: Develop a franchise that keeps aging grills out of landfills by providing a refurbishing service.
It was environmentally friendly. It saved consumers hundreds of dollars over replacement costs.
Demand was high.
The ChallengeDennis learned a few things while repairing his first 2,000 grills.
Repairing one grill — or even ten — was easy. When that number climbs to 1,000 grills? Picking up, repairing, and delivering finished grills all across King County while turning a profit? Well… That was not so easy. Even more challenging was that grill parts, while available, were difficult to find.
Dennis & Andrea refused to give up. They truly believed that, given the chance, people would prefer to keep their favorite grill up & running rather than leaving it at the curb on trash day. With the right replacement parts, these grills were literally "as good as new," and DIY-ers around the country would love a resource to help them with their backyard project.
The TimingThose of us with at least a few gray hairs are old enough to remember life before the 1990s; if you wanted to buy something, you had to actually go to a store — or place an order over the phone for something you found in a catalog.
And your phone had a cord.
The mid-90s brought huge technology advances and the burgeoning internet. It was the perfect time for Dennis & Andrea to share the grill repair knowledge they'd accumulated, and grillparts.com was born.
It really was a crazy time.
Dennis, while covering over 2,100 square miles picking up, delivering and repairing grils, would dictate grill repair instructions and parts requirements into a tape recorder. Andrea would be back at the "shop" (a 400 sq. ft. storage locker) developing relationships with suppliers, managing customers and inventory, and transcribing Dennis's tapes from the previous day for use on the web.
Meanwhile, consumers were learning about this crazy "internet" - and they loved it. Suddenly, Amazon.com was the new standard for retail. America Online reached 30 million subscribers. "Yahoo" became a noun. The demand for parts eventually overwhelmed the service business, and all efforts were put toward providing the best website customer experience possible.
The Rest of the StoryAfter a move from the Seattle area to the sunny Gulf Coast of Florida, things really began to skyrocket. The company developed a proprietary order processing system to keep pace with demand and purchased a warehouse in Santa Rosa Beach, FL.
And no, this isn't a love story, but yes, there was a wedding. There was also a crowd of friends and family hassling Dennis; he heard "it's about time" from everyone he knew.
Grillparts.com now offers replacement parts for virtually every popular grill in the US.
20 years' worth of relationships with parts suppliers and manufacturers. Cutting-edge fulfillment technology. A fantastic core crew of employees.
All of these things enable grillparts.com to accurately and securely process an incredible amount of orders on a daily basis from our warehouse in Santa Rosa Beach.