A longtime passion for off-roading helped motivate the Richmond family to launch Southern Off-Road Specialists (SORS) in 2000.
Catering to a small niche market in Europe for the past 10 years, Velocity Automotive Group, based in Munich, imports and distributes parts from more than 500 manufacturers for American performance cars and trucks. This particular niche revolves around the Mustang, which is wildly popular in America but not nearly as common in Europe. However, according to Johannes Crepon, the company’s owner, the American performance market in Europe is still exciting because it’s so diverse. The customer base ranges from aging enthusiasts who have always dreamed of owning and restoring a vintage Mustang to Millennials who prefer late-model Camaros, Corvettes and Ram trucks.
H&H Classic Parts Perseveres Despite Changing Business Climates
Initially a one-man operation run by Herman Smith, H&H Classic Parts opened its doors in September 1987 as a hobby that got way out of hand, according to Smith’s son Tray, who is now vice president of operations and sales. The company has since grown in size by 300%.
The Truck’n America Family Goes the Extra Mile to Service Clients
Truck’n America—headquartered in a 10,000-sq.-ft. facility in Waldorf, Maryland, with 25 employees and six locations in the Maryland and Virginia area—has been a family-run business for more than 40 years. The team is currently led by Chuck Morrison IV and his brother Dan.
Morrison’s father and grandfather were from Indiana, which was considered “truck-cap central” at the time. They brought truck caps down to Maryland and sold them out of a crab shack they rented in Waldorf.
Founded by Alex Shen 18 years ago, SP Engineering began as a tuner shop in a humble 4,800-sq.-ft. facility with three employees in City of Industry, California. The company has since expanded into retail with a 13,000-sq.-ft. facility, five lifts and 13 employees.
Business has changed drastically for SP Engineering since the Nissan GT-R launched in 2008. The company previously worked with a mixture of Japanese cars and European exotics, including the 2JZ, RX7, 350Z and V12 Lamborghini. Since 2008, the GT-R has represented about 90% of SP Engineering’s market.
Builders Race Their Creations on the Dragstrip to Raise Money for SEMA Cares Charities
Eleven of the nation’s premier custom-car builders crafted miniature pinewood hot rods that raced head to head this past summer at the fifth-annual Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) Pinewood Builder’s Challenge during SEMA’s Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser, which was held July 18, at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center in Pomona, California. The hot rods took to the track to benefit two children’s charities just before the banquet started. The cars were then autographed by the builders and displayed in the HRIA booth at the 2014 SEMA Show.
Now in its seventh year of existence, Hot Rodders of Tomorrow (HROT) enables young automotive enthusiasts to develop and show off their mechanical skills while being exposed to the automotive specialty-equipment industry. The organization’s purpose is to replenish the aging automotive field with essential future talent by expanding high-school education programs and providing career guidance to students while promoting the value of teamwork.
“We started out recruiting high-school and college students and soon realized where the need was,” said Jim Bingham, HROT chairman and president/CEO of Winner’s Circle Speed & Custom based in Joliet, Illinois. “At the high-school level, we can get kids pointed in the right direction; we’re actually changing lives. It sends a chill down your spine when you see what you’ve done for these kids; we’re getting them to go to school.”
If you’re an exhibitor with a significant revelation and you want to let the cat out of the bag, holding a press conference is the best way to get in front of the media. Hours of planning, preparation and strategy are required to successfully pull it off, but the results can be well worth it. It’s best to ensure that you have the necessary staffing and resources at your disposal to optimize your chances of convincing the media to show up and connect with you, and getting the coverage you seek.
Jotech Motorsports’ Formula for Success: Love What You Do and See Projects Through
Jotech Motorsports, located in a 14,000-sq.-ft. facility in an industrial complex three miles off I-635 in Garland, Texas, has been in business for 20 years. The company started in a small, 800-sq.-ft. shop averaging $30,000 in monthly sales of Honda and Acura products. It has since grown to a $150,000–$300,000-per-month business with seven employees.
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.