Lake Norman Publications

Expansion could take Klassic Rides around the world

by Courtney PriceDENVER – When most local businesses want to increase their customer base, they buy an ad.But Floyd West sets his sights much higher.West, owner of Klassic Rides in Denver, will leave Sunday, April 15 for Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.“Embassies are getting people together who are interested in cars and parts,” West said. “We are the only car restoration shop going.”He said if he’s going to be serious about growing his business, “Why not look at the richest city in the world?”West launched Klassic Rides seven years ago with his son Billy.The pair started restoring cars when Billy West got a 1968 Chevelle when he was 15.“We’d work together, go to car shows, that kind of thing,” West said. “It was a hobby.”After Billy West graduated with a mechanical engineering degree and entered a stalled job market, he and his father decided to make their hobby work for them.“We started with three people – me, Billy and one other guy,” West said.They built a one-stop shop, taking care of everything from small repairs to complete reconstructions.West said they only work on cars made before the1970s and focus on customer service.With many restoration companies, West said, it can a year to get off the waiting list and into the shop, and another year or two before the job is done.“With us, you’ll wait no more than 45 days, and a full restoration takes 8-9 months,” he said.Klassic Rides has brought clients from across the nation to Denver which means good things for Lincoln County.West said he’s served players for the Carolina Panthers and Humpy Wheeler, former general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway.“He brings a lot of attention,” said Jennifer Webber, who works in membership development with the Lincolnton-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce. “He could go anywhere in this area, but he chose Denver.”Part of West’s business includes a strong online presence, which helps bring in business from other states.“Our website is updated weekly so clients can follow online,” West said. “So a customer out in California can go on the Web on Friday and see what we’ve done (to his car) that week.”The Klassic Rides’ reputation is spreading, and West said it’s time for the business’s site in the Denver Industrial Park to spread, too.“If I get any more business, I’m going to be one of those companies that has a year-long waiting list,” he said.West plans to expand the shop by an additional 7,000 square feet, bringing the site to 21,000 square feet. He hopes to have the expansion done in June.And with more space, West said he hopes to hire more people and increase staff by 50 percent over the next year.“With his expansion he’s bringing in jobs and increasing the tax base,” Webber said.“These are sentimental cars. Cars that belonged to (customers’) dads or granddads. The cars are very important,” West said. “Our customers take great pride in their cars, and so do we.”

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