HomeRetailersOwl's Nest BBQ on Becoming a Franklin Pit Certified Dealer

Owl’s Nest BBQ on Becoming a Franklin Pit Certified Dealer

Owl’s Nest BBQ, located outside of Chattanooga, TN, has been a go-to store for great service, rubs, sauces, wood, grills and smokers. New this year, they’ve become a Certified Dealer for Franklin Barbecue Pits. I caught-up with founder Steve Ray on what differentiates his store, and the process of become a Franklin Pit dealer.

From Golf Carts to BBQ

While Owl’s Nest is firmly entrenched in selling barbecue supplies, it wasn’t always the case. The store originally sold golf carts, but Steve Ray seized opportunity from tragedy.

I sold golf carts before the recession and when the recession hit, that ruined the golf cart business. I had the room because we were Just using the store as Kind of like a showroom for tires and what have you.

then we had a fire in ’17 that destroyed a garage in the back and destroyed our waiting room. when I rebuilt it, I said “I’m just going to reopen as a BBQ store.” [before the fire] I had one little shelf in there and I was selling Butcher BBQ products, And they were selling Really good. So, I reopened it As a BBQ store, and every year it got bigger, bigger, bigger.

Steve Ray, Owner of Owl’s Nest BBQ
Owl's Nest BBQ Storefront
Owl’s Nest BBQ Storefront

Building With Customer Service

Where a local BBQ store has an advantage over a big box store is by being dedicated to customer service. It used to be that someone buying a grill just has to pick between gas, charcoal, or a wood smoker.

Now there’s so many more types of grills and more advanced ways to cook with them. Owl’s Nest BBQ has the knowledge and time to help a customer pick the right product for them, and help them use it.

we get a lot of local repeat business. you know if we sell a person, we’ve got a customer for good. they’re really dedicated to us because they like to pick our brain, They like to add to the grill. They’ll come back for a pizza oven [accessory] and of course, they need to know how to use it.

Steve Ray, Owner of Owl’s Nest BBQ
Owl's Nest BBQ Rubs Sauces and Drum Smokers
Owl’s Nest BBQ Rubs Sauces and Drum Smokers

The customer service doesn’t end with the grill sale either. Owl’s Nest is always willing to help to make sure customers are happy with their purchase, and their food turns out great.

I have people calling me during the summer especially, you know, they’re cooking something and they’re running into trouble and need help. I can usually talk them through It on the telephone.

Steve Ray, Owner of Owl’s Nest BBQ

Their business isn’t just about grills and smokers either, they specialize in having a huge selection of rubs, and sauces. There are so many sauces on the market, it can be hard to pick one. Owl’s Nest helps with that too by offering samples of sauces, so you know what you’re getting and don’t waste money.

Owl's Nest BBQ Lots of Bags of Pellets
Owl’s Nest BBQ Lots of Bags of Pellets

Franklin Certified Dealer

The newest additions to Owl’s Nest’s store are Franklin Barbecue pits. They are traditional Texas-style offset smokers designed by Aaron Franklin and made from ¼” thick steel.

I have a Franklin pit, and it’s my absolute favorite thing to cook on. The quality of it means it will last forever, so I’ll be able to pass it down to my daughters, whether they want it or not.

Aaron Franklin sells the pits through a Certified Dealer Network to make sure the people selling the pits have the same ethos as him. The pits aren’t sold through any big box stores, just local stores.

Steve Ray had heard about Franklin Pits through the advertising on our newsletter and The BBQ Central Show, so he got in touch with them about becoming a dealer.

I subscribe to your newsletter, And then I was watching Greg [Rempe of the BBQ Central Show] one night and he was he was touting them. It got my interest up, I talked to Greg a little bit about it, And I thought, Why not?

Steve Ray, Owner of Owl’s Nest BBQ

Steve’s a fan of Aaron Franklin, having watched his famous YouTube series and subscribing to his MasterClass. From Aaron’s relaxed personality to his vast knowledge of barbecue and engineering, it easy to see why someone would want to cook on one of his pits.

Aaron is such a unique person that I think people will will buy it just to have a part of him, I really do.

Steve Ray, Owner of Owl’s Nest BBQ

A Franklin Pit really feels like a piece of Americana. With the exceptional function, and the story behind the pits, it led Steve to order two to have in his showroom. This gives him one to enjoy cooking on in addition to having one to sell.

I bought Two. I was going To Get one, but I called him back and I said “go ahead and send two”.

Steve Ray, Owner of Owl’s Nest BBQ

I’d recommend anyone in the Chattanooga area to stop by Owl’s Nest BBQ. You’ll enjoy their hospitality, their huge selection of rubs and sauces, and you can experience the pits in person.

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