THE SHOP

Performance & Hotrod Business May '14

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May 2014 n Performance & Hotrod Business n 43 O pened in 2009, off-road performance shop OC Motorsports began life just down the street from one of its sister stores, a Jeep/Chrysler/Dodge/Ram dealership owned by the Orange Coast Auto Group. Aftermarket products are popular among the dealership's customer base, and Dan Fresh, general manager at OC Motorsports, says there was an oppor- tunity to tap into the lucrative niche by opening an installation shop that offered what the dealership often could not. "The idea was we were going to build an off-road and accessory program at one of our old Jeep stores," Fresh recalls. But rather than cast too wide a net by wooing every truck and SUV owner around, the company refined the concept. "Now we do primarily the Jeep JKs, plus some stuff on Grand Cherokees as well." It helped that the family owners of Orange Coast Auto Group are long-time Jeep enthusiasts, and have been running a Jeep store since the 1980s. Fresh's own expe- rience as an avid off-roader, technician and assistant service manager was also a contrib- uting factor to the shop's ultimate success. "My background is not only being a Jeep tech; I've also raced Jeeps off-road in the Baja 1000 and events like that," he explains. "This seemed like a good fit for us." Lifts, wheels and tires are the primary focus of the shop, but it also handles roof racks, side steps, bumpers, fenders and winches. "Just about everything you could think of when you're talking about a Jeep JK, we customize," he says. The clientele is evenly split between those driving mall crawlers that rarely see so much as a mud puddle, to customers who expect their rigs to make it through the toughest off-road conditions. "It's everything from your typical daily driver-type of vehicle that's just getting a 2.5-inch lift, wheels and tires, to vehicles with 4-inch kits, 40-inch tires and V-8 conversions," Fresh explains. Connecting with Customers OC Motorsports learned early on that a traditional marketing strategy wasn't going to work with the crowd the store really needed to reach. Efforts such as handing Off-road performance shop OC Motorsports forges its own path to win over customers. masters of the niche By Julie Knudson The shop hosts frequent off-road excursions that allow customers to try out new products or see the latest accessories in action. With varying degrees of difficulty, the trail rides are designed to teach drivers about their Jeeps and have some fun doing it. PHBMAY.indd 43 4/2/14 11:30 AM

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