In order to land on our “35 Under 35” list, individuals must first be nominated by one or more industry peers. Pouring through the nominations, SEMA News looks for candidates already displaying leadership qualities within their organization or business. Entrepreneurship, commitment, insight, innovation, integrity, responsibility, and demonstrated skill, involvement and success within the industry weigh heavily in our decision-making. The selection process is never easy—in one way or another, every nominee is a winner—but, ultimately, we reduce the nominations down to 35 finalists to make our special section. When all was said and done for this 2014 edition, we again found ourselves with an impressive roster of highly accomplished individuals making their marks at a young age in a diverse array of industry segments.
Morris 4x4 Center Has Maintained a 30% Average Annual Growth Rate Since 2005
Morris 4x4 Center is a pure-play Jeep parts and accessories Internet retailer—which accounts for 98% of all sales—and is housed in a 32,000-sq.-ft. facility in Pompano Beach, Florida, with 70 employees. It started as a 6,500-sq.-ft. warehouse complex with six units. Every few years, the company expanded into another unit. In November of this year, Morris will move again, this time into a 60,000-sq.-ft. facility.
Online Tool-Building for Your Business
In many ways, developing a strong web presence has become a whole lot simpler. In other ways, it can be more confusing than ever.
“With all the technology out there, websites are just easier to build now than they used to be,” said Bill Lundberg, product manager, automotive industry, for ARI (formerly 50 Below). “Local website designers have become abundant. Many designers still focus on the desktop version. Great website presence, however, relies on helping your customers on all types of devices and using the best tools for the job.”
A Powersports Category Snapshot
SEMA research indicates that more than a third of automotive accessory enthusiasts are likely to own a powersports vehicle. That means the powersports market offers great crossover potential for aftermarket businesses catering to other specialty-equipment segments. So what’s one of the hottest trends in the powersports arena?
The SEMA-commissioned report notes that approximately 670,000 UTV models were sold from 2010 to 2012. This is consistent with other market analyses that have predicted continued healthy growth of the segment through 2015.
The Innovations Center Opens for Business
The photo you see on the cover of this month’s SEMA News was taken in the newly completed SEMA Garage photo studio. It’s a shot of rock guitarist Billy Gibbons, who was kind enough to pose with his project car, which SO-CAL Speed Shop is preparing for the 2014 SEMA Show. Gibbons was on hand to view progress on the car, confer with SO-CAL designer/builders Pete Chapouris and Jimmy Shine, and to tour the SEMA Garage, which is now officially open for business.
Tom’s 4x4 Superstore’s Blueprint to Continued Growth Starts With Customer Service
Tom Pickett has been a Jeep enthusiast for most of his life. He bought one at the end of 2009 but quickly realized that there was nowhere to buy parts for it in Chattanooga, Tennessee. So, in February 2010, he decided to walk away from a lucrative career in automotive manufacturing and build the foundation for Tom’s 4x4 Superstore—a Jeep and off-road parts supplier and installer that officially opened in June of that year.
A Classic Segment, Still Growing Strong
Who isn’t thrilled by the look and performance roar of a classic hot rod? Virtually synonymous with the earliest days of the automotive specialty-equipment industry, hot rodding never seems to grow old. In fact, the market segment has remained incredibly resilient, even in the face of the recently bumpy economy.
A Look at Areas of Interest for Specialty-Equipment Companies
For this story, we have drawn upon information from a variety of sources that, taken together, may suggest business trends. SEMA’s trade show data, new-vehicle sales, educational tendencies and other indicators are some of these often-overlooked sources. What follows is a look at some of the areas of interest that may show where business is headed in the near future.
By Mike Imlay
Racers, street performance enthusiasts, four wheelers, restorers and boat owners all need engines, which means that, at some point, they tap into the performance niche occupied by engine builders and, more often than not, the specialty shops that install replacement engines. It’s a segment composed of small businesses, not-so-small businesses and by OEM crate-engine distributors—all offering powertrain solutions.
In fact, use of ready-made drop-in crate engines with known horsepower and torque specifications has become a driving force in the marketplace in recent years. In particular, the GM LS series has become...
Some Hot Segments to Watch
For many businesses in the automotive aftermarket, racing remains the lifeblood. This industry was founded on passion and performance, and automotive racing continues to drive product research and development and retail sales, inspiring manufacturers, retailers and consumers alike. After taking a hit from a rough economy over the past several years, racing is seeing a resurgence. While many motorsports segments are trending upward, there are a few in particular that merit watching in the coming year. Following the trends in these hot segments can lead to greater marketing success for all levels of the industry.