Photos by Libby Rogers
A great grill can be hard to come by. It can be difficult to find one made with precision and care for the customer. But not at Lone Star Grillz. This company is family owned and operated and is committed to bringing the customer the highest quality product possible. Lone Star Grillz provides a ton of different products: Texas style smokers, barbecue pits, grills, trailer barbecue pits, custom outdoor kitchens, and custom fire pits. With the outdoor kitchens, they even sell the separate components that go into them such as gas grills, refrigeration, wine coolers, and stainless steel doors and drawers. Even with all the products there are to choose from, each order is still handmade one at a time to make sure the customer is pleased.
Lone Star Grillz was started in late 2007 by Chris Goodlander. It originally began as an expansion of a metal fabrication business he had started in Huntsville while he was at Sam Houston State University. The company would originally build the fire pits and grills in the wintertime to keep the workers busy. “After that,” Chris said, “in no time, the other business went to the wayside, and since then, pretty much all we’ve done are the barbecue pits, the smokers, the grills, and things like that.” Lone Star Grillz has been a successful adventure, and they are now located in Willis off of I-45. The company formerly had a shop in Conroe, but moved to their current location three and a half years ago. The passion Chris has for making, using, and distributing the products he sells drives him on in his company.
About his previous business venture, he recalls, “I started my first business doing metal fabrication, because I love welding, I love fabrication, but the items that we built weren’t necessarily fun.” That’s his favorite part about Lone Star Grillz, the process to make the products is fun, and so is the end result. These days, Chris does not really go out to the working area and build grills. Though he still loves doing that, he primarily focuses on the business side of things. He helps oversee the design of the products and the management of the company. With the success of Lone Star Grillz, he does not really have the time to help build. Instead, Chris has hired people to take care of that side of the business for him. One of their most popular products, the smoker, normally takes Lone Star Grillz about 5-10 days to manufacture. The company has a product line that has different options, sizes, and additions for the models. Chris said, “99% of our business is focused around our product line and any combination of the items we have for an upgrade.” When the order is completed for the product, it goes to the back of the line, so to say. The construction of the product is on a first come, first serve basis, so just because they can build it in a week does not mean that is when the customer receives the finished creation. This wait time just means that Lone Star Grillz is ensuring the customer’s product is special made and hand crafted to perfection. Receiving a product as nice as the ones at Lone Star Grillz makes any little wait worth it in the end.
Lone Star Grillz has a customer base from all over the world. They primarily service, of course, Texas, but they have shipped all around the United States and even internationally on occasion. We’re able to ship anything anywhere, and we do every day, Chris said. On who buys his products, Chris continued, “My customer base is primarily individual home use, that’s going to be 70% probably; however, we also service individuals with restaurants, catering, people that do mobile catering restaurants.” Lone Star Grillz also has some pretty famous customers, including some Food Network celebrity chefs. These chefs will custom order grills or whatever they need from the company for their own use or for their restaurants. Chris states, “We’ve done some for celebrity chefs outfitting their restaurants. Those were really cool because they sought you out, out of all the people that could do it…and those weren’t very far off from our standard items.” Another interesting customer of Lone Star Grillz is the San Francisco 49ers professional football team. The team chefs will order products from the business and have the logo put on the side. Other popular customers include competition barbecue teams and individuals. Even with all the special customers, the main customer base are individuals who want excellent grills. As far as pricing goes, it can be anywhere from $500 to $15,000. The most expensive product is a trailer with multiple grills and a few custom additional items, whereas the least expensive one is a regular fire pit. “We do a lot of trailers for companies,” Chris said, “so it would have their themes on them, we have their logos cut on the side.”
Lone Star Grillz sells a huge variety of their products each year. For 2017, Chris predicts that the company will sell 600-700 of the regular smokers, 300-400 insulated smokers, 400-500 fire pits, and about one trailer per week. One of the coolest things Chris sees is when someone saves for a long time to buy one of his products. “Somebody thinks enough of what we do to put all of their extra resources towards something we build, and that is more rewarding, really than the bigger projects,” Chris said. It is easy to see why someone would save up for one of the products of Lone Star Grillz with how incredible and precise they are. The warehouse where the grills and other products are made has many different machines. One that stood out was a machine that cut slabs of metal exactly to the specs input in the computer. These specifically cut pieces of metal all go into the making of one of the famous creations of Lone Star Grillz. There is also a welding area and a machine that custom makes logos to put on products. Overall, there is an amazing amount of precision and hard work that goes into every Lone Star Grillz product. They put passion into their products and combine that with great customer service.
3284 IH45 S
Willis, TX 77318