A new, high-end outdoor cooking store, Charlotte Grill Company, is opening Nov. 1 near the Dilworth and South End areas.
Store owner Randy Utsey has been selling and distributing Big Green Egg cookers for 16 years. He started his company, DJ Distributing Company, in 1985, selling ventilation hoods and other cooking materials to retailers.
In 1996, Utsey was in Atlanta on business when he was introduced to the founder of Big Green Egg, a ceramic, dome-shaped (well, egg-shaped) grill. Utsey was convinced to try one out, then started selling them in Charlotte.
"Every time I went back to Atlanta, I'd load up with Big Green Eggs and bring them back to Charlotte," said Utsey.
The store on Tremont, tucked into the back of an industrial park, is the company's first major foray into the customer-facing retail world. Utsey said he plans to expand the store, learning what to stock and how to sell it to customers.
The Utseys have grills on display and for sale at the store, including Big Green Eggs, Napoleon, and Luxor. They also have spices, charcoal, tongs, and other accessories you might need. Utsey's hope is to expand the store, which is currently somewhere around 1,500 square feet, and move into a more accessible location. The back of the Tremont Ave. store houses the company's warehouse and distribution.
Eventually, Utsey said he hopes to have a business that's dedicated to all aspects of outdoor cooking, and can help customers design and build outdoor kitchen areas.
|Randy Utsey and son in the store|
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