30-year-old Cy-Fair business Universal Propane Grill & Light specializes in outdoor kitchens

Bob Fulton opened Universal Propane Grill & Light in 1991, offering grills and other outdoor kitchen accessories. (Danica Lloyd/Community Impact Newspaper)
Bob Fulton opened Universal Propane Grill & Light in 1991, offering grills and other outdoor kitchen accessories. (Danica Lloyd/Community Impact Newspaper)

Bob Fulton opened Universal Propane Grill & Light in 1991, offering grills and other outdoor kitchen accessories. (Danica Lloyd/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Bob Fulton said the range of products available have increased along with competition from newer brands, retailers and websites since he opened Universal Propane Grill & Light nearly three decades ago on FM 1960 in 1991.

"We’ve had to change our focus more to the better-quality products due to some manufacturers just not being what they used to be and some manufacturers just disappearing,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years, so I’m very careful about what I bring in quality-wise.”

Trends have changed over time as well, and Fulton said today his business specializes in offering and installing outdoor kitchen equipment such as grills, refrigerators, side burners, doors, drawers and sinks. Additionally, the business refills propane tanks, installs gas logs in fireplaces and sells barbecue wood and grilling accessories.

Most people are investing thousands of dollars when building an outdoor kitchen, and Fulton said his top priority is offering excellent products that are priced well. Customers do not necessarily have to purchase the most expensive option to get great quality, he said.

“I see problems all the time where people have bought a product that may not be made the best, and they spent all the money building the kitchen,” he said. “But the grill fails and they can’t find the parts for it because the company’s gone.”


Fulton said he has been pleasantly surprised to have an onslaught of business as people look to update their homes amid the pandemic. But there have been some product shortages because of the unprecedented nationwide demand.

“We were, like everybody else, not sure what would happen, and we closed for a while to protect our employees and ourselves,” Fulton said. “When we reopened, I thought [business] would be very slow. But there has been a boom with people doing home improvements, fixing their houses or moving.”

Fulton said most clients are from the Northwest Houston area, but he does business as far as Galveston, Beaumont and College Station.

Some products are available for shipping, but Fulton recommends customers visit his showroom to see merchandise in person. With nearly three decades of experience in the industry, he said he enjoys talking through options with customers and giving them advice about best practices when working with contractors building outdoor kitchens.

“I’m not a hardcore salesperson, but I am aggressive at informing a consumer what to look for,” he said. “It’s very important to understand what you’re buying, so I take the time to explain why I like the product, what differentiates it, why it’s better [than] the competition.”
By Danica Lloyd
Danica joined Community Impact Newspaper as a Cy-Fair reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a journalism degree from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. She covers education, local government, business, demographic trends, real estate development and nonprofits.


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