Thursday, May 30, 2013

Big Box Stores Versus Specialty shops

Occasionally, I have a customer come in and point out that Home Depot or Lowe's carry grills and smokers cheaper than we have them.

I have an answer for that and would love to share that philosophy.

First of all, the big box stores operate on volume profit. This means they sell a ton of something for a lower profit margin (lower price). The more they sell, the more they make. The cheaper they can buy the product and sell a bunch of them, the more they make.

Unfortunately, in order to purchase their products cheaply they usually purchase their product overseas where products are made with very low quality. Again, the thought is just sell a bunch. If it breaks down in a year;  no worries, the customer will just come back and buy another. They also do not usually offer good warranties on their products due to their lower quality. If you are lucky you will get a year tops but most are about 90 days. They figure if it works 90 days, you are good.

Secondly, they make up some of their costs by charging assembly fees meaning they charge to put it together for you. Or, you can just load the box up and fight through the instructions putting it together yourself hoping it works. So now you have purchased something for a price not realizing in order to take it home assembled you need to pay more!

Thirdly and lastly, if you have a question or an issue with your product, who are you going to talk to? Are you going to ask the lady who they assigned that day to that department? Pretty sure she won't be an expert. Who do you call? Their headquarters? The manufacturer of the product? They just tell you to contact the store. Good luck on that one.

A small business specialty store MUST offer these services in  order to complete with those big box stores. Yes, our grills might be a bit more than what you can buy at Home Deport or Lowe's BUT they are much better constructed, most are actually made here in our own country, and will actually last.

Smaller specialty stores such as Colorado BBQ Outfitters will assemble your product for you and test it to make sure what you are taking home works 100%. Should something go wrong, you know who to call. We will answer your questions or offer suggestions. Colorado BBQ Outfitters will even on some occasions go out to your house and fix whatever is wrong. Any warranty issues will be taken care of by us.

Oh, and by the way, the warranty on our grills compared to the big box stores are much longer. In some cases up to 20 years!! Specialty stores such as ours will take care of any warranty work for you in the slim chance you will need it. Will Home Depot or Lowe's do that for you? Most likely, no.

The owners of small specialty stores love talking about their business and products. It is their livelihood compared to the employee of a big box store making minimum wage. Use them for their expertise.

We here at CBO assembled, at no cost to our customers and test each and every one of our grills and smokers.

So basically for the cost of one premium coffee at Starbucks a day you can receive special treatment now and in the future from a specialty store. If you are looking for cheap, inexpensive product with little to no support, then the big box stores are for you! However, if you are looking for hands on service, great conversation and constant support, come visit us at Colorado BBQ Outfitters or any of your locally owned specialty stores.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

BBQ classes

As we come into the "bbq season" (I say that referring to the novice barbecuer), I realize that we need to hold more barbeque classes here at Colorado BBQ Outfitters. My intent with this week's blog is to type out my class goal and follow through with it!

Many customers have come in asking when we are going to hold more detailed or specific classes such as how to smoke briskets, ribs, chickens, and so on.

I am excited to put a class for these topics together but at the same time very nervous! Our classes are so much fun but I always get stressed out wondering how the class will go or if my samples taste good. I don't know why I do as each class the feedback has been very positive for both the class and the food. :)

My initial thought is to add a BRP (brisket, rib and pork or "burp") class as those are the most commonly barbecued meat. From there I can branch out to chicken, fish, turkey, and maybe; dare I say,  healthy choice class for veggies, etc.

I have already put together a holiday (turkey, roast, ham) class as well as a jerky class. Can't wait to get those up and running.

For those of you that have been waiting for more classes, I promise not to disappoint soon. It is my number one priority. They will not last as long as the 2 - 2 1/2 hour BBQ 101 class and will be more detailed and offer open discussion about how to smoke or bbq the various types of foods.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention our National BBQ Month in May and Father's Day promotions that we have going on at the store...

Watch for our Market Treasury coupon coming out in the next week to a mailbox near you. We are also running a Living Social ad for our class starting the 25th of May so keep an eye out for that as well. Our in-store promotions include sales on sauces including a free Air Force Academy sauce if you buy $15 worth of regular priced sauce. Our bbq bucks are going strong. You get a $10 bbq buck for every $50 you spend. The bbq buck can be used on any $30 purchase which gives you 30% off!!!

Come on down and visit us.

Dan MacDonald
Colorado BBQ Outfitters
6850 N. Academy Blvd

Friday, May 17, 2013

Running your own business can be rewarding but it certainly has its challenges at times.

I left a 25 year career in corporate america to pursue my dream of having my own business. I believe I prepared myself and did my homework as much as humanly possible.

I researched starting a small business on the internet. I attending a small business start up workshop sponsored and provided by SCORE and was assigned a mentor who helped me determine if I was even cut out for owning a small business.

My partner and I decided to take the leap and created an LLC, again, all online by ourselves.

Now, a year later, I can say the amount I have learned is overwhelming. Tracking inventory, determining what type of inventory sells or what does not, doing the accounting of the business, paying bills, etc, etc.

My partner and I compliment each other very well as he is the creative "think out of the box" type and I am the analytic numbers guy.

Daren and I both are willing to learn. We both don't do things just because we should. We do them because it makes sense most of the time.

We debated holding classes at our store last year. There was so much we didn't know. We felt like we had to be experts to do it. There is no such thing as an expert when it comes to BBQ. There are a thousand ways to get the same result. We received so much support from our family and friends.

We held our first class late last year and both had a blast doing it. Not to mention the benefit to the store as well! We still continue to hold the classes and have refined them over time. We have received very positive feedback on the laid back atmosphere of the class and humor Daren and I through into the class. (Having samples at the end of class doesn't hurt either!)

Interested in learning about barbecuing? Know someone who enjoys barbequing but needs some help? Give us a call and sign up for one of our classes. They are a lot of fun and I guarantee you will learn something.

Come on down to the store at 6850 N. Academy Blvd (northeast corner of York and Academy) or call us at 719-465-1041 for more information.

Look for our Living Social half off class deal beginning May 25th!!!


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

How to BBQ the lazy man's way

Many people ask me as the owner of a BBQ supply store how do I have to patience and whatnot to make good barbecue. 

I simply explain to them that making barbeque isn't hard if you have the right gadgets! It doesn't hurt to be a male as we guys like our toys. 

First, I bbq on a wood pellet grill. These are the latest in bbq technology. You plug them in, fill the hopper with bbq grade allnatural wood pellets, set the temperature and walk away. The grill does everything else for you. An auger feeds the pellets into a firebox and are ignited by a hot rod  Once the pellets are burning, the control board of the grill tells the auger how fast or slow to go regulating the temperature of the grill. Truly a "set it and forget it" way to cook. 

The next toy on my list is a digital wireless thermometer. You put the insulated probe into your meat and take the wireless control into the house, take a nap on the couch and wait for the alarm to go off once the meat is at the correct internal temperature. They are fully programmable for each type of meat and taste. We carry the Maverick brand at the store. The wireless digital thermometers take all the guess work out of knowing when your meat is ready to take off the grill. 

When it comes time to take your food off the grill, I use either my heavy duty leather gloves to remove hot cookware or grates; or, insulated food gloves to just take the hot food off the grill. No mess or burning your fingerprints off. A good pair of tongs helps moving food as well. 

Grilling or barbecuing at night? No problem. There are magnetic and clamp on led lights now for your grill so you can see what you are doing no matter what time of day you are cooking. 

If you haven't tried pizza from a wood pellet grill, you are missing out. It is just like pizza cooked in a wood fired oven. A good pizza stone makes barbecuing pizza super easy. 

Starting your hardwood lump charcoal with lighter fluid is a cardinal sin. Chimney starters are the way to go for this job. You put your charcoal in the chimney, stuff some paper under the starter, light it and in about 10 minutes you have hot coals to pour in your grill. You can make it even easier and start your charcoal using Primo Quicklights. All natural, they strike like a match and burn long enough to get a good set of coal white hot. 

I could go on and on about all the different gadgets one can use to make awesome bbq. 

Come on down to Colorado BBQ Outfitters at 6850 N. Academy Blvd Colorado Springs to see what we offer to make grilling and barbequing a piece of cake. Or piece of steak in our case.