Performance & Hotrod Business May '14

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6 n Performance & Hotrod Business n May 2014 U sually when I sIt down to type this column, it's written with an audience of established shop owners and managers in mind. This time, however, it's aimed more at companies that aren't quite where they want to be, and at the guys and gals who dream of someday owning their very own speed shop or hot rod business. This month's issue contains a lot of interesting advice from professionals on getting started in this industry, and what it takes to remain successful. For those just starting out, their words of wisdom and encouragement can be summed up in a simple directive: Keep at it. Writer JoAnn Bortles posed the questions directly to two established builders: Steve Strope of Pure Vision in Simi Valley, Calif., and Troy Spackman of Legacy Innovations in York, Pa. How did you get started, and what sac- rifices did you have to make in order to succeed? Strope recalls his early days of building cars and spraying paint in the parking structure where he lived. He continued to make work his home—literally—after he finally opened up his own place. "I lived in my first shop for three years, in an industrial complex," he remem- bers. "It's cold and hot; you hear every noise. I had to join a gym so I had a place to shower. I'd have my bowl of cereal on my desk while I'm ordering parts in the morn- ing, hung my clothes on a steel bar in the bathroom. It was my home. I did whatever it took to keep the business going." Meanwhile, working for another shop, Spackman ultimately decided to build his own business with his friend, Travis Coeyman, a paint and body man. "We didn't start making money until about two years later," Spackman says. "We were both pretty broke while building the business. Doing anything other than work was nearly nonexistent for me the first five years. Every cent I've made, I've put into my business. We cut back to about 60-hour work weeks when (Travis) got married in our sixth year." And those early years building a foundation weren't easy, either, as both builders struggled with maintaining the quality and identity of their work while not wanting to turn away any paying job. "Working at a cutthroat hourly rate and adding no markup on consumables got us a quick foot in the door with the mediocre custom market, but we soon realized that it didn't pay the bills and frankly, didn't satisfy our desire for perfection," says Spackman. As you probably guessed, the sacrifice and perseverance paid off for both men. Now they pick and choose the projects they want to tackle, while remaining true to the vision and work ethic that got them to where they are today. "I started off by doing two things that mattered: being where I needed to be and building something that was changing the trend. Always be professional. Be true to your ideas," says Strope. Chris Douglas of COMP Cams is talking specifically about businesses in the circle track market, but could be addressing any speed or hot rod shop when he says, "Being a successful racing retailer is probably one of the hardest ways I could think of to make a living these days, but it can be done." If you keep at it. Keep At It n DRIveR's seAt Publisher Kent Bradley – Associate Publisher Michael Murray – Executive Editor Jef White – Managing Editor Eddie Wieber – Staff Writer Patricia Kaowthumrong – __________________________________ Art Directors Linda Cranston – Erik Wogen – Graphic Designer Dayne Pillow – __________________________________ ADVERTISING & TRADE SHOW SALES Trade Show Sales Manager Michael Murray – Account Executive Cammie Wright – Advertising Production Coordinators Kristina Steiner – Brittany Schwartz – __________________________________ Technical Contributor Mike Mavrigian – Contributing Writers JoAnn Bortles, John Carollo, S. Kellie Colf, Regis Finn, John F. Katz, Julie Knudson, Ed Preston, Harry Weimann __________________________________ NATIONAL BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. President & CEO Robert H. Wieber, Jr. Vice President / Integrated Media John Bennett Vice President / Publishing Dave Pomeroy Vice President / Finance Kori Gonzales, CPA Vice President, NBM Events Susan Hueg, CEM, CMP Director of Audience Development Lori Farstad Director of IT Wolf Butler Director of Marketing Sarah Frazier Jef White Executive Editor PHBMAY.indd 6 4/3/14 10:57 AM

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