THE SHOP

Performance & Hotrod Business - Mar. '15

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March 2015 n Performance & Hotrod Business n 35 to go into a performance-based business and talk parts with someone who actually knows parts." Burnett goes with quality. "No longer are we dealing with straight restorations or resto-mods," he explains. "Modern-day muscle cars can run from by-the-numbers restorations to full Pro Street-style road course cars. There are multitudes of engine swaps (LS, Coyote, etc.) but the one commonality across all of these types of builds is to have a high level of quality. With regards to our new Hooker Blackheart product line, we define quality as the highest quality bends, welds, materials, performance and fit." Furillo also says quality. "They want a shop that will provide quality components that complement high-end fabrication so that a car will han- dle and perform at the highest standards," he explains. "Quality parts complement superior craftsmanship; poor-quality parts diminish it." On Notice Of course, some aspects of dealing with muscle cars are tougher than others for shops. "The Internet has made it very easy for nearly anyone to set up an online store. And while more and more manufacturers are willing to help support their dealer network by offering drop-ship services, it allows these online outlets the ability to operate a web store with a shopping cart at almost zero cost," says COMP's Adams. "What we see happening on a more and more regular basis is the end- user finds a given product on the Internet for the cheapest price, buys it, but when they run into an issue, or have a ques- tion, that is when they consult their local performance shop. Well, if the local shop didn't sell the product, there's no prof- itability in it for them, so it puts them in a position to either burn their time assisting 'someone else's customer' or have to charge for their time. Historically, the retail end-user isn't accustomed to hav- ing to pay for the ability to 'talk shop,' but when that outlet didn't make the sale, helping troubleshoot the product (sup- plied by an online competitor) can get costly." Graves of American Powertrain points to the challenge of staying abreast of all that's happening in this dynamic market. "Staying ahead of the game and keep- ing up with the technology in the parts and in social media (is challenging). You have to be at the forefront in all of these areas in order to be successful. It's quite time-consuming." And there's a lot to learn when it comes to the individual parts as well. "Choosing the right product (is a challenge), says JRi's Furillo, noting for instance "there are numerous suspension companies in the industry that make a lot of 'noise,' but there are only a select few that truly understand how to calculate proper geometry."

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