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Eli Manning, local officials celebrate grand opening of BBQGuys Design Center
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Local officials, business leaders and former NFL quarterback Eli Manning cut the ribbon to celebrate the grand opening of BBQGuys Design Center on Wednesday, Sept. 14 - photo by Kelly Whitmire
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Former NFL quarterback Eli Manning, right, and Forsyth County Commissioner Alfred John chat about New York Giants football during the grand opening of the BBQGuys Design Center on Wednesday, Sept. 14. - photo by Kelly Whitmire

Football season and barbecue are a natural pairing, and representatives of both were on hand for the opening of a new business in south Forsyth County.

On Wednesday, Sept. 14, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the BBQGuys Design Center, located at 6310 Town Square Blvd. 1100 Ste. 150 at Halcyon Forsyth, which was attended by local officials, members of the company and two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Eli Manning, who is an investor and brand ambassador for BBQGuys.

“We’re excited to have everybody,” said Russ Wheeler, CEO of BBQGuys and a Forsyth County resident. “A huge, special thanks, obviously to Eli coming in. We really appreciate that. He’s a member of our private equity firm, Brand Velocity, and also an investor and brand ambassador. We’re thrilled with all the excitement he has helped bring to the brand.”

While BBQGuys is primarily an e-commerce business offering grills and grilling supplies, the 6,000-square-foot design center features grills and islands meant for outdoor uses, and staff at the store can build potential customers a customized 3D outdoor kitchen design and other plans for their project. 

“We can design your outdoor kitchen,” she said. “It’s just an extension of BBQGuys.com but [this location has] free online outdoor kitchen design and anything you need for your outdoor living needs.”

While most of the event’s speakers said they were excited about the grills and new business, many still had something to say about Manning’s NFL career. 

“Eli, as somebody who sat in the stadium when Tom Brady crushed our dreams in the Super Bowl, I feel like as Falcons fans, we just want to tell you thank you for crushing his dreams,” said District 27 state Sen. Greg Dolezal. “The guy’s got it all, but y’all ended the perfect season.”

Forsyth County Board of Commissioners Chairman Alfred John said he is a longtime New York Giants fan and recalled his reaction when the team beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

“As a kid who grew up in New York, it was so exciting to hear that Eli Manning was going to be a part of this endeavor,” John said. “I’ve got to tell you, when you threw that pass to David Tyree and the helmet catch, I screamed so loud I think I lost my voice the next two days.”

“That said, it’s an incredibly satisfying occasion to see this project come up. BBQGuys have been a well-known product, a well-known brand, and especially with guys who live here, who call this their home, to establish their business here, makes me very proud.”