October '17

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54 THE SHOP OCTOBER 2017 RESTYLING/AFTERMARKET ACCESSORIES everyone in between. We've found that customization for the middle-age clientele is key for us." Finding employees that can help deliver the final product is an effort that calls for a keen eye and deliberation. "We are very careful when we hire and, at times, that carefulness has stagnated our growth," he notes. "We are concerned about quality and cohesion, so we are slow to hire. I have people I've had since the beginning, but usually our staff comes to us. We've gotten to know them and we then take only those who are the best in their industries. "But they must have like-mindedness, because we are a family," he adds. "The quality of the work must be high and takes a certain dynamic." The good news is that quality work allows for a stable pricing structure. "We are the driving force for the market," says Copenhaver-Heath. "But, I've noticed that some of our prices, which I choose, often come to us arbitrarily to some degree. We find the industry adapts to that. We don't go searching the market for the price; we set our prices based upon what we feel is right." And that means fair for everyone—busi- ness and customers alike. "We tend to be priced a bit on the high side," he says, "and we don't mind losing business to price. We just don't want to lose to poor quality." Because the quality is consistently high, Apex Customs enjoys repeat business and referrals. "We have a nice website (apexcustoms. com) and a nice online presence," he says, "and we try to keep up with social media. "But, we also make sure to treat people right," he adds. "Every car that leaves here tends to be a billboard for Apex Customs." STOCK ANSWERS When it comes to stocking product, Apex Customs attempts to stay flexible. Though impossible to keep every item on the shelf, the shop is able to quickly access and deliver most anything a customer wants. "We have a multitude of parts on hand, but we have the diverse ability to order often and we buy directly from suppliers," says Copenhaver-Heath. If there's a consistent challenge the shop faces, it's time and determining how long a job will take. "There is no manual to follow," says Copenhaver-Heath, "so it can be tough to gauge time requirements. We want to deliver the vehicle perfect and on time. "But, it's custom work," he adds, "so parts need to arrive on time and if a project takes more time, it affects other projects on the calendar. You have to earn customers' trust and that is something earned on the job." Of course, Copenhaver-Heath wouldn't have it any other way. "I'm not a monetary-fulfilled guy," he says. "It's the accomplishment that moti- vates me; my staff motivates me. My staff works really hard. They love their job and they like to see success. They want to do a good job and make the clients happy. That drives me to do a great job." And all that positive production means Apex Customs expects continued growth, and that means also evolving locally. "We put money that comes in back into equipment and innovation," says Copen- haver-Heath. "We plan continued growth and continued influence within our com- munity. They appreciate us being in the area. I'd like Apex Customs to do a lot of good for the community." TOP OF ITS GAME Seeing the Light In May, Apex Customs announced the launch of Axium Lighting, a new line of premium automotive LED products devel- oped to help car owners improve the color, visibility and efficiency of their custom lighting projects. "As a customization shop, we've worked with a broad range of automotive lighting products from just about every after- market supplier on the market," says Elliot Hutchens, co-founder of Apex Customs. "Working with aftermarket lighting every day, we were frustrated by the lack of reli- able LED headlight options for our projects that delivered the results our customers demanded. We decided to build them ourselves so our clients could enjoy the benefits of LED lighting without draining their bank account or returning to our shop with burned-out headlights a month later." Apex sought to resolve the issues its tech- nicians encountered during installation and address the common complaints cus- tomers expressed after their projects were completed. The Infinity line of headlights by Axium offers improved light output with lower operating temperatures and energy consumption by utilizing the latest LUXEON Z ES chip technology, according to the company. "Our goal is to provide a product that people can trust, so they can get the ben- efits of LED lighting without worrying about damaging their cars or wasting their money," Hutchens says. The company's best- case scenario is when a customer walks in and says, "Here's my budget, here's what I want." In May, Apex Customs announced the launch of Axium Lighting, a new line of premium automotive LED products.

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