Since August, local business Mike D’s BBQ, owner Michael De Los Santos (Mike D) and his wife Gloria, have been featured on the new Discovery Channel series, I QUIT. Over the course of one year, I QUIT followed six sets of hopeful entrepreneurs as they leave their steady incomes and retirement plans behind, going all-in on their dreams of launching their own businesses. Along the way, they were mentored by three successful business leaders who have each built empires of their own – Harley Finkelstein, president of Shopify, the global commerce platform powering more than 1 million businesses around the world; Debbie Sterling, CEO of the award-winning children’s multimedia company, GoldieBlox; and Tricia Clarke-Stone, entrepreneur, author, innovative marketer, and co-founder/CEO of the award-winning creative and tech agency, WP Narrative_.

Mike D’s BBQ is an award-winning line of signature BBQ sauces and all-purpose dry rubs. The business is the result of a long process of Mike refining his sauces and rubs to meet his desired flavor and then share it with the world. In 2009, a spicy version of the sauce was entered into a competition for amateur sauce makers in North Carolina. The spicy BBQ sauce came in 3rd place overall and 2nd in its division. Since that time, friends and family encouraged Mike to take his product from the backyard to the masses.

The business launched their first product in 2014. Mike and Gloria met their sales goal that year and have seen strong steady growth ever since. In 2015, they introduced their Sweet & Spicy rub and in 2016 had their biggest growth year to date (120%). In 2017, their all-purpose rub won World Champion in the Dry Rub Fowl Category. They also opened a retail location (Mike D’s BBQ Supply & General Store) in East Durham in September 2020.

With the business owners on I QUIT also self-documenting, viewers will experience the high intensity, pressing deadlines, and extreme decision-making that rule in these daunting endeavors where there are no safety nets. And all the while, what the entrepreneurs don’t know is that at the end of the year, the most promising business will receive $100,000 to fuel their growth.