If you haven’t heard, BJ’s has been hit by an arsonist not once but twice at the new location we were planning to open. BJ has already faced many setbacks in opening the McLaran location. The many unexpected repairs to the renovation process has drained all the reserves. Every dime BJ has made was being put into the building to get it open so that his many loyal customers would have a place to come to and not have to wait on the BBQ BUS. My son and his co-laborer Kenny Gregory, have been working daily, either on the grill and bus or working to fix the building, most days doing BOTH.
Even with the tremendous financial drain, BJ never stopped giving to those in need, He has fed the homeless, not with lunch meat sandwiches, but rib tips and beef polish. He fed them as if they were paying customers, because he felt at some point when you’re down you need to feel that you are special and you do matter. He wanted them to know that they are worth more than just a cold piece of meat between two pieces of bread. He makes sure during the summer months that children who would normally get a free lunch at their schools didn’t miss that noon day meal, and instituted a free jumbo beef frank for any child under 12 who came to the trailer. BJ and Ken have been working to respond to the needs of the less fortunate wherever they see lack or need. There was a summer youth program that was struggling with equipment theft and their funds were stretched to give neighborhood kids a safe place to play. BJ and Ken fed them hot dogs and chips. NO CHARGE. He loves children so a week later, BJ’s sponsored an ice cream party for them and left enough freeze pops for later activities. BJ found out some seniors residing near Sarah & Delmar were sharing a turkey leg because they didn’t have enough money to make their food last until their next check. He provided the ladies with extra turkey legs so they did not have to share. BJ has a tremendous heart for children and the elderly. These are just a few displays of the compassion and love BJ has for his community and customers and the list goes on.
BJ needs help this time, he’s trying hard not to give up, but he’s been facing adversity, animosity, and jealousy every since he took the business out of the backyard. He could have gone to West County, where he was offered the location of a lifetime, but he chose to be in the city, to offer some jobs to people from the city in the Baden area. With this last setback, the loss of the business truck, and the damage to the rear of the building, he feels the writing is on the wall and he must move. If this is how some people feel, it’s not safe to put our loved ones in the restaurant and the threat be far greater than losing the truck or the building to fire.
Stephanie Gray(BJ’s wife) and I, Nana (the Mom) are doing this for BJ and the business because his pride would not allow him to, but if we don’t leverage enough funds to relocate immediately, the haters will have had their way. I just don’t believe they should win. We’re counting on the family of BJ’s Gul-licious Backyard BBQ and Bernie Gray, Jr. to let him know that he is not alone in this and he has friends who do want to see him succeed.
The money will be used to relocate and establish ourselves in a better area and replace the much needed truck that pulls the BBQtrailers/BBQ grill/smoker.
LET’S SEND A MESSAGE TO THOSE THAT HAVE TRIED TO DETER HIS DREAM OF BRINGING A FRESH TASTE IN BBQ TO THE “LOU” THAT, THEY LOSE. We know and trust in Luke 6:38, we live the first part of that Scripture and await the second part!!
Please share this story with your family and friends and give as generously as you can. Let BJ know that we are behind him and that he MUST NOT QUIT. My son and Kenny are men of God, awesome fathers and men who believe that with a dream and hard work, that dream can become a reality.
Deborah Raspberry Hopkins