Restyling & Truck Accessories - May '15

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34 Restyling & tRuck AccessoRies | May 2015 ay Ott is reinventing himself—again. In fact, this is not the first time that the owner of Auto Trim Design (ATD) of Cleveland has given his business a makeover. For the past 25-plus years, Ott has been continuously reinventing his business to adapt and change to the current trends of the automotive restyling and outfitting market. Ott started ATD much like how many companies begin: by accepting every challenge and learning as he worked. "I got started working for someone else doing auto trim, graphics, pin stripes, body moldings and such," recalls Ott. "Then I got into truck accessories, moon roofs, leather interiors and it just kept going. People would ask me if I could do something and I'd just say 'yes, I can do that,' and then I'd figure it out as I went." It was that sort of perseverance and determination that helped drive Ott to open his own business on the southeast side of Cleve- land in Oakwood Village. He grew it organically by following product trends and learning as much as he could along the way. One might assume that after a quarter-century of growth, Ott would now be overseeing a thriving business bustling with high energy from dozens of employees, but that's not the case. ATD of Cleveland to this day is a one-man shop, with Ott serving as the chief salesperson, installer and office manager. He does rely on a part-time bookkeeper, his niece, who handles all the bookwork and billing from her home in Texas. ATD of Cleveland wasn't always just Ott and his many hats. In fact, on several occasions he had employees that he kept very busy. "We've had employees in the past when there was work that needed extra hands," he says. "But times change and we have to change with it." At one point, Ott says, ATD of Cleveland participated in federally funded programs that offered incentives for automo- 34 Restyling & tRuck AccessoRies | May 2015 restylingMag.coM Ray Ott, the owner and only employee of Auto Trim Design of Cleveland, says flexibility yields sustainability for shops working in the restyling aftermarket. Reinvention in By Keith Turner Shop profile Motion

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