June '19

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44 THE SHOP JUNE 2019 T he southernmost city in Palm Beach C o u n t y, Fl o r i d a , Boca Raton had a popula- tion of 93,235 according to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2015, with approximately 200,000 that have a Boca Raton postal address residing outside its municipal boundaries. One of South Florida's wealthiest communities, Boca Raton is 43 miles north of Miami, and a principal city in the metropolitan area, which tallied 6,012,331 people in 2015. Home to the main campus of Florida Atlantic University and headquar- ters for Office Depot, ADT, Cancer Treatment Centers of America and Chris Evert's Evert Tennis Academy, it's also home to, where we caught up with its CEO and founder, Phil Gottes. THE SHOP: How did Tuff Truck Parts get started, and when? PG: Over 30 years ago, we started building custom trucks, Jeeps and anything you could throw at us. TS: What was the idea behind the name and the branding? PG: I came up with the name in 2015 after we got tons of requests from our customers for a website from which they could pur- chase products. We had hundreds of truck and Jeep accessories that we couldn't stock in one brick-and-mortar location. When I searched the domain name, no one had claimed, so I jumped on it. I absolutely love the name of our company. It's easy to remember, and 100-percent fits our business. That is when was born. At that point, we decided to build a state-of-the art e-commerce website with over 300,000 custom parts and accessories to satisfy all of our customers' requests. is now one of the top suppliers of custom truck, Jeep and SUV parts and accessories in South Florida. TS: Tell us about your experience tran- sitioning from a shop to a hybrid online retailer and brick-and-mortar storefront. PG: Honestly, building an e-commerce web- site that stores hundreds of thousands of custom parts, vehicle fitments and content has been an ongoing battle. No one ever told us how difficult this was going to be. Our team spends 14 hours a day working on customer vehicles, the website and in filling orders. If we were not as devoted to our business as we are, we would have failed years ago. TS: Were you always in the same loca- tion or has that changed? blends e-retailing with a brick-and-mortar storefront. Online Off-Road By Jason R. Sakurai's website header. Tuff Truck Parts' installation team. It helps to have a strong, recognizable logo.

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