How One of Essential Hardware Loyal Customers Turned Hobby into Successful Business.  
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In honor of coming Labor Day we would like to feature a personal story of Matt McDougall from
Pipe Creek, TX. A
 long time loyal customer of Essential Hardware.  Little did he know that his hobby would replace an 8-5 city office job and grow into a successful company.

Essential Hardware Harry is back with some tips for keeping cool during the dog days of summer.

From the desk of
Essential Hardware Harry

Essential Hardware Feature Story: Matt McDougall
Q:  When did you start and how did you come up with the idea of creating custom BBQ pits?
A:  I started building custom wood furniture, custom metal art, and Grilling Pits in 2009. 
Q:  If you could tell a little bit about how you started the business.
A:   I knew barbecue pits are an important part of people's lives. Personally, I always loved firing up the grill on weekends and cooking with friends and family. I took my first BBQ pit units to San Antonio market days and listened to others who barbecue on the weekends regarding what they want and need in a quality BBQ pit. 
Q:  What are some things you have done to modify the design of traditional BBQ grills? 
A:  I designed my line of grilling pits and smokers to solve many of the challenges people face when they purchase mass produced big chain store BBQ pits. I listened to their complaints and concerns about those pits. I designed my smokers using durable material thicker steel, featuring a large prep shelf, slide out meat racks, a tall smoke stack so as to keep smoke away from your face, a solid frame, with a custom look.
Essential Hardware Feature Story: Matt McDougall

Q:  What are some skills that you have or had to learn that you found most useful in creating custom BBQ pits? 

A:  Designing your own pit line requires an artistic mind so as to build a pit that not only looks good but works correctly as well. Also requires dedication, willingness to think outside the box, ability to adapt to a changing market, and understanding of mathematics. Aside from grilling pits, I also build Fine Tune reverse flow pits. Designing reverse flow fine tune smokers required planning, thought, research and testing.
Q:  Did you come across any challenges while you were creating designs for custom BBQ pits and how did you resolve them?
A:  Each model has to work properly or you will not have a good word of mouth reputation. We tested every model and different configurations of each model to get it right. The most challenging aspect was to design them in a way that is efficient to build in terms of hours required to complete each pit according to our quality build standards, without sacrificing quality, and to build them within a competitive price range. When I saw how many people loved my pits and how well they cook, I knew it was time to leave the big city 3 years ago and move myself, my wife, and  my daughter out to the Texas Hill Country of Pipe Creek, TX so that I could grow my business and build more pits!! 
Thanks to the products and superior reputation of Essential Hardware, I was able to find some high quality accessories for my pits to further enhance their durability and design.
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Q:  When you started did you foresee such great demand and success of your business?
A:  When I started building pits, it was initially sort of a hobby.  I thought it would just help make a car payment here and there. I had no idea it would completely replace my 8 - 5 office job and become a growing company.
Q:  Any advice to someone who is a DIY enthusiast and into welding, metalwork?
Essential Hardware, Featured Story.  Boss Hog Heavy Duty Smoker Pit
A:  To metal working enthusiasts and other hobby driven artists, I would advise them to pay close attention to your customers' needs. You cannot just make whatever you want and have success selling what you built. Listening to the customer is key.
Essential Hardware Feature Story: Matt McDougall Welding Boss Hog Heavy Duty Smoker Pit

Matt at the Workshop Welding Boss Hog Heavy Duty Smoker Pit.

Thanks to Essential Hardware, I was able to include durable heavy duty wheels for my pits. They handle the extreme weights of our large smokers (thick steel pits) and help us maneuver them around with greater ease.
Additionally, I have the advantage of a supportive partner, (my wife, Renee) who handles a lot of my marketing. She was delighted to leave the big city and all its conveniences for a life in the hill country surrounded by heavy duty BBQ pits.

Thank you so much Matt for sharing your story with our readers!

Stay tuned for a featured selection of Essential Hardware products in honor of Labor Day coming directly to your e-mail box.


You can visit Matt's BBQ Pit Shop here:

Essential Hardware Feature Story: Matt's Trailer Pits
Essential Hardware Feature Story: Matt's BBQ Pits
Essential Hardware Feature Story: Matt's Firebox Pit
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