The local company has grown to a “lifestyle brand“
Evans High School graduate Ray Carnes and his best friend Ron Cundy started Rec Tec Grills in Augusta in 2009. At the time Carnes was in the used car business when the recession hit. “Well, in 2008, one day you just couldn’t sell a car. The bottom literally dropped out” Carnes said.
Big, loud and boisterous, Carnes wasn’t your typical teenager. In Augusta you buy boats, four wheelers and trucks. “When I was 18 my friends would always pick at me because I always had a very nice grill. I was always buying grills, buying grills, buying grills.” Carnes and roommate Cundy would work “Thursday, Friday and Saturday night all we would talk about is what we were going to experiment with on the grill. We were just passionate grillers.”
So when the recession hit, Carnes needed to come up with a new career path. Carnes was by this time in his late twenties. “So I called my old roommate Ron Cundy, who now is a very prominent attorney in Atlanta. He’s used to me calling with crazy ideas and it was his job to poke holes in them. Well, I called him with the grill idea. I want it to be the ultimate grill, the best thing since sliced bread, and after a couple of days he called me back and said I’m in.”
The two pals began REC TEC Grills in 2009 in a small warehouse off of Bobby Jones Expressway in Augusta and within a few years REC TEC became one of the fastest growing pellet grilling companies in the country. Today, REC TEC Grills has grown into a lifestyle brand with a ten person promotions department cranking out daily content for their Youtube channel and social media properties.
When the company began, Carnes and Cundy went direct to consumers with a storefront website and started promoting heavily on social media. 80% of sales came from having the product explained over the phone, one call at a time. The approach worked.
“Everything was call us, call us, call us. They tried some national things. There was a national syrup brand that they put a “necker” on that they thought was going to blow them up. They got one call from this national pancake syrup campaign but nothing ever worked except the internet and getting somebody to call.” explained marketing manager Trey Enfinger.
Around 2013 things really took off.
“The first year he sold 60 grills. And now we can sell 200 in a good, really banging day” Enfinger said.
“We have six warehouses now and by the end of the year we’ll consolidate and move into 250,000 square feet of the former Quad/Graphics in Columbia County. We went from 2009 having one flagship model to now having nine models, two of which aren’t even pellet grills-the Matador which is a gas wok, and the WyldSide, which is an Argentina style cooker, so logs, charcoal, whatever you want to burn in there basically.”
These days Carnes spends a little less time at the office, enjoying time with his family and pursuing hobbies. But his cell phone number is still given to every grill buyer, and yes-he still happily answers his phone.
We couldn’t help but follow the comments on this story on Facebook. Within an hour of posting this piece, here is a sampling of the feedback:
Amazing company had my 680 for 7 years now. Absolutely the best customer service in the industry.
I remember those early Rec Tec days on Enterprise Drive… my store was across the street. They would cook every Thursday and have prospective customers there. The aroma wafting across the street made our mouths water. Great job Raymond Carnes and Ron Cundy. You hung in there and now look where Rec Tec is! Happy for you guys. (I own the Bullseye and Matador and bought the RT300 for my son as a gift… son-in-law owns the RT680… we are a Rec Tec family!)
This company cannot be touched….Amazing the care they take after the sale to educate and keep us tuned in…What an awesome family….proud to be associated with such fine folks
It took a while to change my mindset on what my Bull was – not just a smoker but an outdoor wood fired convection oven which also happened to be a smoker. I use my indoor oven much less now, the Texas climate helps that and not heating up the kitchen!
Whoever heard of doing pizzas on a “smoker” – with the Bull I can do three at a time and they come out great as just one example….
My current favourite though is tri-tip at 225 until IT of 135 then finish with a Searzall (saving pellets and wait time!).
Now just need to find some more time and recipes for my Matador…
Love it! Stand up guy! REC TEC LIFESTYLE!!!
We happily gave you , REC TEC, some of our hard earned money this week! Can’t wait to get our new Stampede!! Love the attention to putting out a quality product!! Smoke on!!!!
Kick ass story, kick ass company, and a kick ass family. Love being a part of the RecTec lifestyle. Smoke on !!
Diamond Dave G
Doing something right – ““The first year he sold 60 grills. And now we can sell 200 in a good, really banging day” Enfinger said. “
Great Company!!…Thank You Ray and Ron for all your efforts, as well as the amazing staff that you have assembled! Awesome Grills, Awesome Company
Great company and great people! Best customer service I’ve ever got! Thanks Ray Raymond Carnes! I love my RECTEC!
I just have to say I love my RT-340. I’ve cooked steaks, pork ribs, beef ribs, bacon wrapped chicken, beer can game hens, pork shoulder, pizza, a fatty, roasted vegetables, and even made my own bacon. Still to come is brisket. Oh and the ability to start the grill when leaving my grandsons T-ball game so it’s ready when I get home is, to say the least, AWESOME!