Once Hopping BBQ Superstore Says Sayonara

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For years, Barbeques Galore seemed to do brisk business in a little Costa Mesa strip center it shared with a liquor store, Big 5 Sporting Goods and Wherehouse Records. Then, in no particular order, Wherehouse went online only, a larger, adjacent shopping center at Harbor Boulevard and Wilson Street got a massive makeover and Barbeques Galore moved into a bigger, 8,000-square-foot space as a BBQ superstore while retaining its original spot as sort of the outlet mall version of its new self.

The Barbeques Galore chain filed for bankruptcy in August 2008, but the next month the Costa Mesa store and locations in Irvine and Laguna Niguel were separated out as Barbecues & More under new owners, the Maister Group of Companies of Santa Ana.

Anything BBQ related you could possibly want or need was carried among the three stores' 3,000 different products, which included enough hot sauces, grilling sauces and rubs to fill a wall, floor to ceiling. The store later began carrying saunas, so you could boil yourself while grilling your dogs. What more could Orange County suburbia desire?

Well, Barbecues & More had a problem. While it sold the Cadillacs of grills for thousands of dollars, much cheaper knock-offs could be purchased at Target, Costco and Home Depot, which had a store anchoring the same madeover shopping center the Costa Mesa Barbecues & More moved into. The Irvine and Laguna Niguel locations ultimately went bye-bye, and today the Maister Group announced that in the next couple weeks it will close that Costa Mesa store mere steps from where the original Barbeques Galore opened 22 years earlier.

"We are closing our final store due to the tough retail climate where consumers are extremely concerned about the economy and are holding onto their money," said CEO Brett Maister.

On the bright side, merchandise is marked off 40 percent and more, meaning I'd finally be able to afford it if only my credit cards weren't maxed out.



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