Cesar Gracida, RK Sport’s proprietor, joins the crew in the Pod Shed to share his entrepreneurial odyssey from employee to business owner. Additionally, they discuss forthcoming truck events in 2024 and listen to messages on the 5-Star Hotline. Proudly sponsored by Nissan, in association with Banks Power, this is The Truck Show Podcast.



The following transcription of The Truck Show Podcast was generated using a speech recognition software, and will contain errors. Please review the timestamp and listen to the corresponding audio for accuracy. 

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Jay “Lightning” Tilles (0s):

On this episode of The Truck, Show, Podcast, Lightning and Holman bring to you the new owner of RK Sport that makes them seriously badass Custom hoods.

Sean P. Holman (11s):

Well beyond the hoods. Don’t we wanna talk about his entrepreneurial story? ’cause he went from a guy working for the business to the guy owning the business, and that is no small feat and leaping. We’re

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (20s):

Also gonna talk about some Truck Events that are coming up in 2024. We’ve got lots of five Star Hotline calls. Thank you for dialing into 6 5 7 2 0 5 61 0 5, the five Star Hotline. And Holman apparently has a brand new Nissan Frontier in his driveway. What’s up with that?

Sean P. Holman (33s):

Wait, apparently, or does

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (35s):

I walked right past it to get into the Pod Shed Mm. A beautiful boulder, gray Pearl, brand new frontier. What’s up with you?

Sean P. Holman (44s):

Pro four X Nissan brought it to me with a bow on the dash.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (48s):

No, they didn’t.

Sean P. Holman (48s):

They sure did. And some holiday cheer in the backseat. Damnit

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (51s):

Damnit. That was awesome.

Sean P. Holman (52s):

Seriously. And where’s

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (54s):

My man Lightning?

Sean P. Holman (55s):

Why are you banging on the table? No. ’cause I’m not thrilled.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (58s):

Stop. I’m happy for you. Tell every

Sean P. Holman (60s):

Guest who comes in here to stop banging on the table and then you go and do the same thing. I

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 3s):

Did it three times and that’s, that was it. Three times in the last six

Sean P. Holman (1m 6s):

Years. That’s enough Nissan Frontier. So yeah, it’s a 2023 Pro four X crew cab and yeah, it’s awesome. Marin And I, my oldest, took it out to down to my uncle’s ranch this past weekend.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 19s):

Wait a minute, you’ve had this for almost a week. And I. Just found out about it now.

Sean P. Holman (1m 23s):

Yeah, I have been pretty busy. So I Didn’t have a chance to like post about it or anything, but I will. And dude, I, I haven’t driven a frontier in a while and I’ve driven a lot of different stuff lately. I drew the new Tacoma, I drove the GMC and Chevy Canyon, Colorado Twins. I’ve been in a lot of trucks. And the thing I love about the frontier is you just get in and just start it up. And there’s not, like, it has a big, nice, giant nine inch screen, right? Like in my car play works and all that. But like all the controls are where you want, there’s nothing you have to figure out. It’s not like the GMs where there’s no headlight switch anymore.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (1m 53s):

Are you calling it elegantly simple?

Sean P. Holman (1m 55s):

I’m just calling it like a, a, a good truck. Okay. So my wife, who we’ve discussed ad nauseum on the show as being a, a car snob, she’s like, I don go in the frontier. So her and I went out to lunch the other day, And. she goes, wait,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 7s):

Wait, wait, wait. She asked to go in the frontier. Yes.

Sean P. Holman (2m 9s):

Which I was sort of surprised. That’s weird. And we go to lunch, She goes, huh, I forgot what it wass like to be in a small truck. And. I’m like, huh, what does that mean? And then She goes, yeah, what

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 18s):

Does that mean?

Sean P. Holman (2m 19s):

Well, the fries is pretty good. Yeah. You know, it’s quiet. I kinda of like this. How, how much is this? And you know, it’s like 45 grand or something. She’s like touching all the plastics and stuff and like fiddling with the, the, the radio and doing all the things that wives do. And And. she literally said the weirdest phrase to me that I’ve ever heard Come outta her mouth. Huh? I wouldn’t mind a truck like this. What?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 40s):


Sean P. Holman (2m 41s):

Stop. I’m like, who are you? I don’t even know you. When

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 44s):

Did you start dating someone new? Yeah,

Sean P. Holman (2m 46s):

Exactly what? So anyway, apparently she liked it enough. And. she wass like I can see myself driving one of these every day, which is probably the highest compliment Nissan will have from any human ever. So it passed the wife test.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (2m 57s):

Are you going to let her borrow

Sean P. Holman (2m 58s):

It? No. And so I’m not gonna let you borrow it either. Oh no. What? Why? And, and then so Mar and I went out to the, to the desert, to my uncle’s ranch and I was really impressed. So did 21.6 miles per gallon heading out there and back. That was pretty good. And that was, you know, 78, 80 miles an hour cruise control doing our thing. And you zero gravity seats are super comfortable. I know we talk about it all the time. Well, well

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 22s):

You, you and her. Well, she’s a musician. So does she have any feedback on the Fender audio system? She

Sean P. Holman (3m 27s):

Was listening to her AirPods and not talking to me. I was literally having a conversation with myself. And I, look over And. she looks over at me And. she goes, what?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 34s):

And I go. She has no idea what you were saying. What

Sean P. Holman (3m 36s):

Did I just say? She goes, oh, I was listening to my music. I’m like, it’s so nice to go on road trips with you now. That’s what happens when you get a, a teenage daughter should

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 43s):

Have shared me and my boys. We share music.

Sean P. Holman (3m 46s):

Yeah. Like I, I, we don’t, we don’t listen to the same stuff. So anyway, enjoyable trip with her. Wait,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (3m 52s):

She was like ska and then ska. I

Sean P. Holman (3m 54s):

Oh. no, I’m on this. I’ll make you listen to it on occasion. So anyway, we, we listened to some music I mean I listened to some music and we enjoyed the quiet ride of the Nissan Frontier. And I was like, you know what, this thing’s awesome. It rides nice. It’s the door thud is awesome on it. The the V six is plenty powerful. 310 horse. And

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 13s):

How’s the nine speed trance?

Sean P. Holman (4m 14s):

That’s great. Yeah. No complaints. Everything. It just, it was just, it’s the perfect size. It fits in the driveway, fits in the garage. Everybody seems to like it

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 23s):

Ride’s nice. Yeah.

Sean P. Holman (4m 24s):

Abby with her, you know, car seat in the back does her feet, don’t touch the back of the, the chair in front of her, which is nice. And everybody’s happy. So yeah. Nissan Frontier, I, I know this show’s presented by Nissan and we, we like to talk up Nissan, but I

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (4m 37s):

I did not bring this up to, to shill. I brought this up because it’s a, there was a really rad brand new truck in your driveway and you have it And I don’t. And I’m Jelly All. right.

Sean P. Holman (4m 46s):

Well if you are looking to fill your driveway with a Nissan product like I have, then you wanna head on over to Nissan usa.com. We can build and price The Frontier or the Titan or Titan Xd. The Titan and Titan X d. you have the issues. Best five year, 100,000 mile warranty and the Frontier Crew Cab Pro four x starts at a really palatable 39,100 bucks. That’s a bargain. That is a bargain. It’s a bargain. It’s a great truck for, for the money. And speaking

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 10s):

Of bargains, you can turn your truck from turd into Word for only $295 for a pedal monster.

Sean P. Holman (5m 18s):

Did you just say turd the word?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (5m 20s):

Yeah. You know, you’re like word. The pedal monster transforms naturally aspirated trucks. Turbo Diesel trucks, twin turbo gas trucks. It doesn’t matter what It is. It has the same effect on all trucks. Pedal Monitor can be hooked up in like three minutes. It just intercepts the pedal plug and connects to OBD. It knows your VIN gear, make model transmission, speed gear, all that. It’s the only throttle controller that not only transforms your truck and makes it sportier, but also has fail safe systems. So. it doesn’t leave you stranded on the side of the road like the competitors. If you want to completely make that old bucket fun again, buy a pedal monster and you’ll find yours at Banks Power dot com.

2 (6m 1s):

The truck show. We’re gonna show you what we know. We’re gonna answer What The truck, truck s The Truck show. We have the lifted, we have the lowered and everything in between. We’ll talk about trucks that run on Diesel and the ones that run on gasoline. The truck show. The truck show. The truck show. Whoa.

3 (6m 32s):

It’s the truck show with your hosts Lightning and Holman

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (6m 38s):

Holman. so we got a, we got ourselves a guest in the house right here in the Pod. Shed. Oh

Sean P. Holman (6m 42s):

We do. Last time we had him on the show, I think was at SEMA in our booth. Yes. So All right? Everybody comes to Pod. Shed. What do you think?

4 (6m 50s):

I’m speechless. Literally there’s stickers everywhere. We got neon signs. We got a cyber truck inside. Yeah. That

Sean P. Holman (6m 57s):

Was 3D printed by one of our, one of our listeners who also 3D printed a, a wiener with a crown on it.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (7m 4s):

Here It is, hold on. You wanna hold the wiener? Want the crown? There you go. It’s a little odd, isn’t it? But, but

Sean P. Holman (7m 10s):

The, the cyber truck and can handle it apparently. ’cause it sits in the bed of the cyber truck.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (7m 15s):

So the cyber truck, the 3D printed cyber truck, do you think it looks better than the one in real life?

4 (7m 23s):

Yes. Yes.

Sean P. Holman (7m 24s):

And are you gonna do cyber truck hoods? Cyber

4 (7m 26s):

Truck hoods? Yes. Yes.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (7m 29s):

We, we, we’ll get into it. All. right? So Cesar Gracida from RK Sport is in the house. We got a quick intro. Don’t move. What does

5 (7m 36s):

It take, what does it take to be an entrepreneur?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (7m 56s):

So? it turns out Cesar that you are quite the entrepreneur now.

4 (7m 60s):

Yeah. Yeah. I watched a lot of Gary v videos and clips. And I was like, oh dude, that looks easy.

Sean P. Holman (8m 6s):

Yeah, yeah, sure. We were talking about this before we hit the record button. I was telling him, when anybody asked me should I start my own business, how I tell them yes verbally, but I shake my head no while I look them straight in their, in their eyes and ruin their dreams. And it’s like, yeah, totally do it because it’s gonna be awesome. And It is, nobody tells you how hard It

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (8m 25s):

Is. Yes, they do.

Sean P. Holman (8m 26s):

Or how often the government wants to do

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (8m 29s):

With you. No, they tell you all those things and then you ignore them because you think, well, you did it So, I can do it. And then you try and you go, I guess this was as hard as you try to convey And. I ignored you.

Sean P. Holman (8m 39s):

I I feel like it’s parenthood It’s like when you have a kid and everybody gives you unsolicited advice, but you just gotta take it on your own. And then you get there and you’re like, holy crap, this is this, this is how, this is. Like, all of my friends are fathers and not one of you a-holes told me what to expect, you know? Or that I listened. So anyway, it’s, it sucks. So last time we talked to you, you were an employee. Yes. And now you’re the owner. Yes. So like, that’s a pretty big leap from

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (9m 5s):

Dude shake my hand. Congratulations. Thank you.

4 (9m 7s):

Thank you.

Sean P. Holman (9m 7s):

Thank you. Welcome to being poor. Oh yeah. All the time. And stressed all the time. And worried all the time. And

4 (9m 14s):

Yeah. Know my, my my new favorite meme is you ever had one of those days where you drink a red bull to relax

Sean P. Holman (9m 21s):

That, that’s solid. Hold on. Yes. Yes. I have. That gets a bell. Yeah, that gets a bell. Okay.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (9m 25s):

So give us the backstory. When we spoke to you again, as Holman said, you were an employee of our case board. Yes. You had been there for a few years at least. Yeah,

4 (9m 34s):

Nine years.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (9m 35s):

Okay. Okay. And then take us through the transit and we won’t, we don’t have to spend a ton of time on the business ’cause we’ll get to the products obviously, and what you’re really passionate about. But how did you take over the business?

4 (9m 45s):

So, you know, taking it back to pandemic, you know, March 20th, California announced that they’re shutting down.

Sean P. Holman (9m 54s):

Yep. 2021.

4 (9m 56s):

20 20 20 23.

Sean P. Holman (9m 57s):

2020. Yeah. March

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (9m 58s):

20 some a date that I will not ever remember because it didn’t affect me. It was super

Sean P. Holman (10m 3s):

Weird. That’s not true. Because you, And I were at the Four Wheeler Adventure Expo at the OC fairgrounds on March 17th or 18th, whatever that weekend was. And it was right before they shut down California. And we were scrambling to get, when I was at MotorTrend to get alcohol dispensers for your hand wipes and all that And. it was a big deal. ’cause they’re like, do we cancel this event or not? And that weekend was the last event right before the whole stage shut down.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (10m 30s):

So that So I guess I was, you’re right. I do recall that I had blocked that out. But like for me, we have a defense part of our business, and the CFO wrote us all notes and said, you, even though I’m in the aftermarket parts side, they said, Hey, we, we have a defense side, so that’s gonna keep us open through this. And they wrote us all notes. Again, if you get pulled over, anything happens, anyone questions you, you’re going to work for the defense contractor portion of the business. And we didn’t miss a single day throughout, throughout the entire pandemic. So, friends, family, everyone I know in Hollywood, radio, tv, record industry, everyone was at home. And here’s me at work. Now, granted, I love driving on the highway.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (11m 11s):

’cause it was, I was doing 90 miles an hour. It was me and three other dudes. You know, And. it was, it was interesting and weird. But everyone has all these pandemic stories. don don’t have any, I just can’t. I just went to work. So what happened to you?

4 (11m 25s):

Very similar. Where we were, we were shut down for almost two months trying to figure out how did we get back up and going again. And, you know, we were looking into those exemptions. And so as a OEM replacement, that’s what gave us the Okay, ah, and the ability to continue to reproduce our, our product for, you know, collision vehicles don’t have any government contracts, but we have customers and clients that do some work for, for law enforcement. And so that’s what allowed us to continue to work. And we did have, you know, generate the letters

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (11m 60s):

Of the employee. You had to figures figure out the right paper to file or whatever to give you that exemption. Yeah.

4 (12m 4s):

Okay. And so that was eight weeks after. And so we, we got up and going at that time, you know, Mike, the, the previous owner was like, you know, he pulled me to the side and he’s like, Hey, you know, the building that we were in, our KPort moved from Oceanside to Marietta. And

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (12m 23s):

That’s both in California. Yep.

4 (12m 25s):

Yep. And yeah, we get confused with by Marietta, Georgia.

Sean P. Holman (12m 29s):

Oh yeah. This is Mu MU yeah, yeah,

4 (12m 32s):

Yeah. Murrieta California. City of Murrieta Budd US gave us, you know, just an amazing offer to move to their city, to a bigger facility. We were just taking over all the small suites in, in, in Oceanside next to the Oceanside airport. And so we needed more space. And so Marietta provided that solution. Fast forward to 2001, 2002, they needed to build that French Valley Parkway off ramp. And so they bought the, the building from RK. Sport So.

Sean P. Holman (13m 4s):

It was like an imminent domain thing. Yes. And you’re like, oh, that’s market price, dude, we’re not even, we’re not gonna negotiate. I know what this is worth. Cut the check, cut the check. You’re like, you’re like, don’t lowball me. I know what I’m worth. It’s like every Craigslist post or offer up post ever.

4 (13m 17s):

That’s exactly what happened. And so we were there, you know, living the hood. Life as I like to say,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (13m 24s):

You gotta have, you gotta have a shirt by the way that says living the hood life. Right. Do you

4 (13m 28s):

Have a Yes, I do have a few designs of, of, you know, different hoods that, that we want to highlight. But you know, that’s, everybody says living the dream. I’m I’m living the hood life. Right. You know, so the city was, was posted, listed the building for sale. You know, we knew our time was, was, was, was coming up and, you know, without really knowing or hearing about the pandemic, you know, we just kind of carried on actively looking for, you know, our next, our next home pandemic hit. Then that’s when everybody’s freaking out. Is there work? Will we be allowed to continue to work? Yeah. What’s it looking like for our new building, our new home? You know, and started toying with the idea of Outof state.

4 (14m 10s):

You know, there was a lot of pros, a lot of, a lot of great things about, you know, doing business outside of California. However,

Sean P. Holman (14m 17s):

The grass isn’t always greener. And I have told several of my friends who have gone and come back and then they lose their real estate position. And they’re like, this sucks coming back. Like, if you wanna leave, you really gotta understand you’re, you’re probably not coming back. But I’ve had friends move to Arizona, Texas, other places in the country where they’re like, oh, well I was told this is a great place to move and the traffic’s just as bad. It’s like being in LA or, or we came to this place and there’s no property tax protection. So, I don’t pay income tax. But my property tax doubled ’cause all the other Californians followed me here and raised all the property taxes or whatever the case. And it’s like, I moved And. I didn’t realize I, I knew it was cold. I didn’t realize there were freezing rainstorms and people were sliding off the highway.

Sean P. Holman (14m 59s):

And I’m like at 75 and home by the beach. It’s pretty nice. So yes,

4 (15m 4s):

You are right a hundred percent. We moved out there.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (15m 9s):

Where was this again? Where’d you

4 (15m 10s):

Go? Austin. In this city called Brown Rock

Sean P. Holman (15m 13s):

Honorary Texan speaking here. I love Austin. Great town. All the Californians have definitely turned it purple. But back in the day, some great truck shows out there that were amazing. And it’s a just a, it’s just a rad place to, to hang out and visit one of my favorite places in, in, in all of Texas.

4 (15m 32s):

I will say, I feel like everybody is blaming Californians. Yeah. But who accepted the big cash?

Sean P. Holman (15m 37s):

Well, that’s the thing. Austin was one of those places where the state of Texas, And I think the city said, we want big tech, so we’re gonna do the tax benefits. We want California businesses. And so they attracted big tech and a lot of California businesses and said, move here and we’re gonna give you the tax write offs and we’re gonna make it cheap for you. And we’re business friendly. And they brought all those people with them when they moved.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (15m 57s):

Got a, they got a lot of blue with that.

4 (15m 59s):

Yeah. And again, it’s I mean Austin became just as expensive as California.

Sean P. Holman (16m 5s):

Absolutely. It’s almost like the Bay Area. Yeah. Oh, it’s crazy. Oh Yes

4 (16m 8s):

And. it

Sean P. Holman (16m 8s):

Used to be a college, it was a college town 20 years ago. Right? Like Oh, definitely. It was a rad college.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (16m 13s):

Did you ever go to South by Southwest? Like one of the biggest music festivals there? I went for like four or five years. Massive in, then in the nineties it was, it was God’s gift. It was incredible to see Young, new, I saw Blink 180 2 during when they launched like Cheshire Cat. Oh yeah. Like the, one of the original, like I’ve saw so many amazing bands by

Sean P. Holman (16m 32s):

It was great. Like, like Artist Town and College Town. And dude

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (16m 36s):

Counting Crows they saw there before they got signed. Wow. So like that was, anyway, flash forward. It, it’s so south by is still there, but it it’s

Sean P. Holman (16m 44s):

Oh yeah, like California of the south now. Yeah.

4 (16m 47s):

Yeah. I mean you will always have an amazing time in Austin. Yeah. You will always have fun. There’s nothing, there’s, you know, endless activities that you can do. However, in the summer and in the winter you are, you’ll enjoy maybe five seconds of that because It is so hot. It is so humid. Yeah. If I’m going for hot and humid, I’m hitting the coast. I’m hitting the tropics, the Caribbean. Yeah. Yeah.

Sean P. Holman (17m 14s):

I’m not going You’re be in Key West or something like that.

4 (17m 16s):

Yeah. I’m not gonna be in the middle of the nowhere.

Sean P. Holman (17m 18s):

The hills sweating it out. Oh

4 (17m 20s):

Yeah. And in the winter everybody’s like, oh, welcome to Texas Western. Tug those Texas for you. I’m like, you can’t, you guys are asking us to use less power and less Yeah. Less power during the heat and during the winter. Yeah. How independent are you? Yeah,

Sean P. Holman (17m 34s):

Somewhere there’s a, a Texas truck guy’s hitting a steering. Wheel damnit scissor.

4 (17m 40s):

Yeah. Well, and then, you know, Southern, California, it’s all about Mexican food out here. Yeah. It doesn’t exist in Austin.

Sean P. Holman (17m 47s):

TexMex is not Mexican food.

4 (17m 48s):

Wait, what? Really? It does not exist. I went out there And I was like, I want a California burrito.

Sean P. Holman (17m 53s):

And by the way, everything, when you go outside of California that has California in the name of the menu item is guacamole or avocado, everything.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (18m 3s):

So you’re in Austin and you’re making hoods, right? Because you’re the hood guides living the hood life. Yes, sir. And they’re telling you to reduce the amount of elec of electricity, but you got a lot of power tools. You got a lot of equipment, you got ovens and everything else you need to make hoods. Right. So Yes.

4 (18m 16s):

Well we have our, our huge, you know, we have a paint booth, we have a deburring booth, you know, that’s where we do our finishing sanding, you know, and just sending all the, all the dust up in the air. And on top of that, it, you know, we were starting over zero employees. So training everybody from the ground up. Oh yeah.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (18m 35s):

And, I say they all stayed in Cali.

4 (18m 37s):

All stayed in Cali. Oh, excellent. Well, with the, I take it back, with the exception of myself and two other employees moved out there and each in separate departments. One was our carbon fiber technician. Okay. And one was our shipping and handling. You know, he just, he’s unstoppable. He can box up, hoods, spoilers, body kits, like no other

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (18m 56s):

Person. And you’re still an employee by the way at this point, right? Oh yeah. Okay. I’m, I’m

4 (18m 60s):

At this point, you know, I’m, I’m doing the hiring process, the interviews at the same time trying to figure out, you know, how to, you know, start a new network out, out in Austin. Did

Sean P. Holman (19m 11s):

You, you at least find the in and Out?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (19m 13s):

Yes. Oh.

4 (19m 15s):

And the best part is there was no line.

Sean P. Holman (19m 17s):

See, but that’s the

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (19m 18s):

Thing, because there what a burger, which sucks. What a bummer,

4 (19m 21s):


Sean P. Holman (19m 22s):

What a bummer. Oh

4 (19m 24s):


Sean P. Holman (19m 25s):

I mean, listen, I love Texas. Couple

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (19m 27s):

Burgers of Texas just gave the middle finger

Sean P. Holman (19m 28s):

To the, to the area. I think Pompousness. But I like, I like I told her friend in Texas, I’m like, dude, you can trash in and out all you want. You can be like, screw you guys on what a burger. Who’s

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (19m 37s):

Got the line around? Who’s

Sean P. Holman (19m 38s):

Got the line around the building?

4 (19m 39s):

Who’s gonna wait eight hours? For what? A

Sean P. Holman (19m 40s):

Bummer. Nobody

4 (19m 42s):

Idaho just did Idaho just had an In-N-Out grand opening. It was

Sean P. Holman (19m 46s):

Eight hour, yeah. Eight hour wait. Yeah. Wow. Saw it on their Instagram. I was like, all day, all day,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (19m 50s):

All day.

Sean P. Holman (19m 52s):

I mean. I’m sorry, that’s we’re proudly a little bit California pompous about Inn Out. Well, I,

4 (19m 55s):

I was like, well I guess everything is big in Texas, including the disappointment. Oh

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (20m 2s):

Yes. So

4 (20m 4s):

I I mean, I was on a journey going from taco truck to taco truck to taco truck looking for, you know, real

Sean P. Holman (20m 10s):

Mexican food. Real

4 (20m 11s):

Mexican food. When I was in Austin, you know, I’d call my mom, call my grandma. They, you know, they’re calling me every day. How are you meal?

Sean P. Holman (20m 16s):

How are

4 (20m 17s):

You? Have you eaten? Have you eaten? I’m like, yes. Just because you physically don’t see me eat. Yes. I am eating. I have lost a lot of weight because it’s

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (20m 25s):

Hard to find food,

Sean P. Holman (20m 26s):

Food out here. ’cause you’re like, I’m trying the closest thing, the Mexican food here is Taco Bell. Yeah, right. Seriously. That’s not close. And you No. When you’re like, well, you know, it’s bad when you’re craving a chalupa, you know. Oh, and, and where’s the Chimichanga? Taco

4 (20m 40s):

Bell and It is true. You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (20m 43s):

It’s gone. Yeah.

4 (20m 44s):

So, you know, we love islands. That’s Southern

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (20m 46s):

California. Oh, I love Islands

Sean P. Holman (20m 47s):

Is great.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (20m 48s):

Do they wait, do they not have islands in other states? No.

4 (20m 51s):

Really? It’s Southern California.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (20m 52s):

Oh, I didn’t know. Yeah.

Sean P. Holman (20m 53s):

That’s how I feel about Waffle House. Once the Waffle House delineation at the Colorado River ends, it’s like Oh. no, on my way out.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (21m 0s):

I don’t care less about Waffle House, cardboard, eggs, And I.

4 (21m 3s):

Don’t get the hype. No,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (21m 5s):

I don’t that there’s, there’s nothing. It’s, yeah, it’s the fact that it’s so amazing. Lame. It comes full circle.

Sean P. Holman (21m 10s):

No. Yeah. It’s amazing. Waffle House

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (21m 12s):

Is the best. It’s not amazing. Are you, are you gonna choose Waffle House or ihop? ihop? Every single time. Waffle

Sean P. Holman (21m 18s):

House. A hundred percent. ihop. IHOP.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (21m 19s):


Sean P. Holman (21m 19s):


Jay “Lightning” Tilles (21m 20s):

Time. Waffle

Sean P. Holman (21m 20s):

House. Waffle House. Because I,

4 (21m 22s):

I I think Ros’s is overrated. It is totally

Sean P. Holman (21m 24s):

Oh. no, totally. But here’s why Rocos is overrated. ’cause they don’t cook their freaking waffles long enough. You have to ask them for your waffles. Well done. So they come out crispy and not Doy. Well, that’s changes

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (21m 33s):

Everything. Okay. So. it changes everything. Rocos is total SoCal. That’s a, that’s a,

4 (21m 36s):

You’ll catch me at pantries in downtown la

Sean P. Holman (21m 39s):

I was, I was at the pantry at the El Auto Show. Walked up there for breakfast one day. Still cash only.

4 (21m 44s):

It’s, yeah. No, they accept cards now.

Sean P. Holman (21m 46s):

Oh, they accept cards now. They used to have the ATM machine with like the $8 charge that they send you to

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (21m 50s):

In the corner. Isn’t Pantry one of the oldest restaurants in Los Angeles

4 (21m 53s):

A hundred years next year. Yep.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (21m 55s):

Wow. And it isn’t it super spendy now? And

4 (21m 57s):

The former LA mayor owns it, I believe. Okay. Oh,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (22m 0s):

Okay. Yeah.

Sean P. Holman (22m 1s):

Yeah. That’s a great spot.

4 (22m 3s):

It’s, it, it, they, they changed their hours. They used to be 24, 24

Sean P. Holman (22m 6s):

Hours and, and

4 (22m 7s):

Now it’s 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM Here’s

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (22m 9s):

How you guys know Pantry. So you don’t know where pantry is, but if you’ve ever read a skateboard Magazine, and you’ve seen a guy like go down a 45 degree strange looking blue brick walls, it still brick. It’s, yeah, there’s a wall to the, to the south side of the pantry restaurant that’s famous for skateboarders launching off of, and it’s been in hundreds of Magazine covers. Yeah. That’s the pantry. Yep. Anyway, going back to you and Austin. And so where does it, where does it go South? Where does, how do you, how do you grab the

4 (22m 41s):

Business? You know, much like everybody in the US we’re struggling. We’re struggling to find employees, you know, trying on Craigslist, LinkedIn, honestly, especially for, for composites. Everybody is applying as a mechanical engineer, just overqualified. Oh yeah. Yeah. And so, you know, we’re looking for trade

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (22m 58s):

Hands are work hands

Sean P. Holman (22m 59s):

On. They wanna go work for Toyota. Yes. Or something like that. Right. An OE and a private mechanical engineer

4 (23m 3s):

At an o everything on a computer. Yep. Yep. This is, you know, hand labor. This

Sean P. Holman (23m 8s):

Yeah. You’re gonna be dusty at the end of the day.

4 (23m 9s):

Oh, dusty and itchy. Yeah. And itchy. Yeah. Yeah. Fiberglas is no joke. You’re

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (23m 12s):

Not wearing suits.

4 (23m 14s):

Nah. Well, we do have, you know, the, the, the, the

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (23m 17s):

S all

Sean P. Holman (23m 17s):

Okay. But still I mean you take ’em off And, it goes

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (23m 20s):


4 (23m 20s):

That, that, and it’s layered. So you’re sweating And. it, it’s, it’s,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (23m 24s):

You make it sound attractive if you’re looking for a job, it sucks. No, no, no sport.

Sean P. Holman (23m 29s):

No, no. I was gonna say, if you’re looking for a job, they need a marketing person who could add, spin his stories. Yeah.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (23m 35s):

Yeah. That’s not your forte, Mr.

4 (23m 37s):

No I mean, surprisingly, it, it’s, you know, it really is a hard job to explain. You’re, you’re, you’re handcrafting the raw product and when it’s finished, it’s still unfinished. If that makes sense. Yeah. It’s not until you actually go to the SEMA show. Yeah. To LA Auto Show or anywhere where we have a,

Sean P. Holman (23m 57s):

A product where a body man has fitted it and painted it. And I mean I mean, it’s just like hanging fiberglass fenders off a PreRunner. There is a lot of hours that go to hang it just. Right. So all the body panels and the gaps are right. And there, there’s an art to it. And it’s beautiful when it’s done.

4 (24m 12s):

Oh yeah. And it’s no different than the assembly plant. Sure. There is still someone, you know,

Sean P. Holman (24m 17s):

Not a Lightning truck.

4 (24m 20s):


Sean P. Holman (24m 20s):

Do you say that? Because you told me that your hood gaps are crazy. They

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (24m 23s):

Are crazy. I’ll show you afterwards. You’re like, this came off the line ram like this. Yeah,

Sean P. Holman (24m 27s):

No, I’m sure he knows. Oh,

4 (24m 29s):

We, we know. And, and you know, that’s, well, let’s get nine outta 10 times. That’s our

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (24m 33s):

Conversation. Let’s get into that. Hold on. We gotta I, we gotta get to the, to where you take over the business. I’m dying to know how this happens because you’re still an employee. Yep. And you’re getting all, well, you’re not getting dirty and itchy in the back, but, oh,

4 (24m 45s):

I, I’m, I’m getting itchy. There’s

Sean P. Holman (24m 46s):

Only three of ’em. Of. course he’s gotta get itchy.

4 (24m 48s):

So as, as we’re we’re hiring employees and training them, everybody that was training us in Marietta, you know, back in California, they’re in California. So, you know, it’s, it’s just myself and two other employees. One who was a carbon fiber technician was, was training everybody, including myself because my job as director of sales and marketing was to film the process and, you know, get outta

Sean P. Holman (25m 13s):

The world.

4 (25m 14s):

Yeah. I never really asked the questions of like, what is this? What, why are you mixing these two or what, you know, how much pain are you adding? Those questions did not come until after the, the purchase. And so even beforehand, as, as an employee still, you know, I was, you know, working on processing all the orders that were coming in, keeping up to date with vendors all, all the

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (25m 36s):

Day to day,

4 (25m 37s):

All the day-to-Day operations. So in my head, I’m just living day by day. When, when, when we got there, Mike had given himself six months basically to make this deal happen with Champion. It didn’t work out.

Sean P. Holman (25m 53s):

And that you’re talking about Champion who owns Xenon and

4 (25m 56s):

Xenon and 3D Carbon. Right.

Sean P. Holman (25m 58s):

Which it would seem like it’s a natural fit. Right?

4 (26m 0s):

Absolutely. Yeah. I mean we, we, we did some private label manufacturing for

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (26m 4s):

Yeah. And, and Xenon is is that’s the same company that does the body kits since like the nineties, right? Yep. Like every Honda Civic and Accord and all those cars had xenon body kits. Like if you, if you go back and watch the original couple, 2, 3, 4, fast and Furious, those are all xenon body kits. Right. Or a lot of

4 (26m 20s):

Them, they worked with Wings West. Okay. Oh yeah. You know, and so very, you know, notable names from the nineties. Fast forward to May, it’s like Time’s Up before we left California, you know, Mike had asked me, what do you, what, what are your thoughts about Texas? I’m like, well that’s a big move.

Sean P. Holman (26m 39s):

Yes. It is a big move.

4 (26m 39s):

That’s a big move. However, I don’t feel like looking for a new job right now. Not only that, but I love what I do. It’s

Sean P. Holman (26m 46s):

A little bit of an adventure too, right? Oh, oh, I mean that had to be part of It is you’re like, I have an opportunity to move to a new place, experience a different part of the country. Yep. That’s gotta be I mean. I think there would be, I don’t think I would do that on my own, but I think if the opportunity was right, I’d be like, All, right. I’ll do, I’ll take a flyer on it. I wanna go see how other people live and experience a, a new part of the world and all that And I can imagine. There’s a little bit of excitement behind that.

4 (27m 7s):

Yes. So when we were up and running again after, after we, we got exempt. We made a trip to Austin with, with the guys at Champion So. it, it was in August when we went out there, you know,

Sean P. Holman (27m 21s):

Best time of year to go. Oh,

4 (27m 22s):

It was, we went everywhere. We went to, you know, Oasis, we checked out all the nice houses out there, looked at the building that was still under construction. I mean, we just, you know, sold Sold on the vision. Yeah. Sold on the city. And

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (27m 35s):

They schmoozed you obviously

4 (27m 37s):

Sold on the gas prices. Oh yeah,

Sean P. Holman (27m 40s):


4 (27m 40s):

Sure. Sold on the gas prices

Sean P. Holman (27m 42s):

For sure.

4 (27m 43s):

It, now I will say that we went, you know, went to fine dining, hit all the nice restaurants. I’m like, oh, the food is amazing here. So I came back. I’m like, okay, you know, talk to my wife. I’m like, look, this may or may not happen. However, I think we, the company is moving to Texas. And so October 30th the company moved to Texas. And so for November,

Sean P. Holman (28m 6s):

So from August to October, that’s how fast that was. Yes. Okay.

4 (28m 9s):

And along with the, the purchase of the building that we were in, we basically had like less than two months to move out. Okay. So. it was crunch time. Yeah,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (28m 17s):

It happened super fast.

4 (28m 18s):

It happened very fast. Your wife

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (28m 20s):

Divorces you. Now you’re single, so now you got all this.

Sean P. Holman (28m 22s):

But he has a new wife from Texas And. she wears cowboy boots and a daisy dukes and a hat.

4 (28m 27s):

Oh yeah. Oh yeah. So our in, we had lived in Temecula for two years and our lease was up in April. So it, you know, we had it, it, the timing was, was great. Yeah. You know, because we can not sign the lease. However, she stayed behind while I focused on getting the business up and running. It was tough. It was tough being by myself

Sean P. Holman (28m 51s):

In Austin. Austin. What did her, what did her boyfriend think about it? She,

4 (28m 56s):

She was constantly calling me, texting me like, Hey, you know, just paranoid. Yeah. And it like, you know, she’s by herself.

Sean P. Holman (29m 3s):

Yeah. And, she, we don’t have kids. She’s like, you don’t listen to country music now, do you? Right.

4 (29m 8s):

I started developing a twang and So it, it was very rough to, you know, granted it was very cheap to travel. I mean $50 round trip from Austin to LA or San Diego. I can make that happen, you know, twice a month. But it still sucked.

Sean P. Holman (29m 23s):

Yeah. You’re still doing the airport and you’re still getting in the airplane and,

4 (29m 25s):

And you, anybody that picks up anybody in La Xs Oh,

Sean P. Holman (29m 30s):

I don, we’ve talked about. I don’t do LAX. Yeah.

4 (29m 32s):

It’s, it’s the worst. It’s bad.

Sean P. Holman (29m 34s):


4 (29m 34s):

Bad. I don’t do it. so we did that again, come May, Mike is like, Hey, you know, I know we’ve talked about you taking over. You’ve expressed interest. Here’s what I’m looking for. And basically gave me, so

Sean P. Holman (29m 46s):

When he handed that paper to you, did you erase one of the zeros and hand it back to him?

4 (29m 50s):

No. Wait

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (29m 51s):

A minute. I this,

Sean P. Holman (29m 51s):

Well, this is what I can afford. And you just kind of made it and you handed it slid right across him. I feel like

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (29m 55s):

I missed a point where, so a point starts, champion was going to buy it. So you were gonna team up with Xenon the other body cake company doing fiberglass, and then all of a sudden that didn’t happen. And then it’s now you have the opportunity to purchase it.

4 (30m 9s):

So Champion had a, had a part of the, the reason for the move was Champion was going to step into the composite space. They, they were working out deals with different schools and, you know, develop a, a partnership with, you know, tech schools. Oh yeah. Trade schools. So

Sean P. Holman (30m 28s):

Basically they, there’s an avenue for them to have jobs after they’re trained, so. Correct. Yeah. Got

4 (30m 32s):

It. It was basically their job and responsibility to hire the lamination crew. That never happened. Oh, okay. And so we had to take it on upon our own hands to hire our own crew because I mean we were there for all of November setting up and December, nothing was happening still. And so, you know, mid-December, I’m, you know, like we can’t wait any longer. Yeah. I mean we are sitting on, we need people. Well, and we’re sitting on, you know, almost six months of orders that have been coming in. And how do you fulfill that I mean, it, it I mean how,

Sean P. Holman (31m 4s):

How much of your inventory went from California to Texas?

4 (31m 9s):

Six semi trucks full. Okay. So yeah, it was, it was a lot about, I’d say maybe 600 different molds.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (31m 20s):

Holy mackerel.

Sean P. Holman (31m 21s):


4 (31m 22s):

Yeah. It a lot of molds that I I shouldn’t have gone with us in the first place. You know it with every few

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (31m 28s):

You should have obsoleted a bunch, right? Yes.

Sean P. Holman (31m 30s):

Well, yeah. I mean you looking at that, you know, Fiero with the, with the hood scoop on it or something. ’cause it’s mid engine. don don’t know. Something weird like

4 (31m 38s):

That. Yeah. So it was, we threw away the Sunfire, the Grand Dam. The GTO, the Cavalier. Oh

Sean P. Holman (31m 45s):

Dude. The Cavalier back in the day. You know, people are like Hood scoop on the Cavalier.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (31m 49s):


4 (31m 50s):

Yeah. We had the Z 28. Good. Yeah.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (31m 52s):

Holy mackerel.

4 (31m 53s):

Yeah. We I mean we developed a supercharger for the Cavalier I mean. Damn dang. When we were in with GM I mean we were in, we, we developed the market for so many odd GM vehicles that like,

Sean P. Holman (32m 5s):

Like, we need this to be cool and we need you guys to help us.

4 (32m 8s):

It’s like MagnaFlow And, I Bok are like, are you serious? I’m like, yes. This is debuting up to see Michelle in GM’s booth.

Sean P. Holman (32m 14s):

And it has fourteens on it. And I’m not talking about the speaker size.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (32m 18s):

You, so as you got the car and you’re going to, you’re going to IBO the spring company going, I need springs to lower this car. The

Sean P. Holman (32m 24s):

You slamming the cab. Are you serious?

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (32m 26s):

We don’t wanna give you product for that.

4 (32m 29s):

And then you fast forward and it’s like we’re bringing in truckloads of exhaust kits that are going back out, you know, And it, it, it was amazing to see that and, and to witness that. Well

Sean P. Holman (32m 40s):

I was looking at the website to see

4 (32m 41s):


Sean P. Holman (32m 41s):

Thousands. See what kind of weird stuff I could find. You still have stuff for the Pontiac Solstice

4 (32m 46s):

That is still a hot seller. Is

Sean P. Holman (32m 48s):

It really? Really? Oh yeah. They only made like 10,000 of those things or something. Can I slap

4 (32m 52s):

Every one of those owners? Guess who they’re calling and, and purchasing hoods that are no longer available or bunkers that are no longer available. All. right.

Sean P. Holman (33m 0s):

All. right. Interesting. So you,

4 (33m 2s):

You, you buy the

Sean P. Holman (33m 3s):

Company, he makes you an offer you can’t refuse.

4 (33m 5s):

I can’t refuse it. I mean this is a dream come true.

Sean P. Holman (33m 7s):

So what do you tell your wife? Hey babe, we’re gonna be poor for about five, maybe 10 years at

4 (33m 13s):

This point. So I signed my lease to my new apartment in, in Austin May first I signed the paperwork to purchase the company May 3rd. Oh

Sean P. Holman (33m 23s):


4 (33m 24s):

I mean, and, and Mike drove back to California May 4th.

Sean P. Holman (33m 28s):


4 (33m 29s):

I I mean to this day, I I, it still hasn’t hit me. I was gonna say,

Sean P. Holman (33m 32s):

Do you look back and go, don don’t even know what happened. Yeah. Like all of a sudden I own this company in Texas and I’m not even from here. Oh, this

4 (33m 39s):

Is up. I’m Will Farrow in old school. Like what happened? I just blacked out because it, it, it, it still feels like that. You know what,

Sean P. Holman (33m 47s):

What was it like the minute like Mike handed the keys, he’s like, good luck. And then he pieces, pieces out and he drives away. And now you’re sitting here in this freaking warehouse and you don’t have all the employees you need. You don’t have all the product that you need. You don’t have, you know, the production. They, and you’re standing there and you’re like, oh shit, what I do?

4 (34m 8s):

The room got bigger. I bet I got very, very small And it, you know, it did take a few days for me to, you know, really feel the effect of like, okay, Mike Mike’s gone. Like,

Sean P. Holman (34m 22s):

Yeah, he ain’t coming

4 (34m 23s):

Back. He’s not here. And not only that, but now I have to share that news with Champion who had no idea what, what just happened. So,

Sean P. Holman (34m 32s):

It was up to you to break up with Champion. ’cause you’re like, I’m not going forward with that deal. ’cause I I’m doing this. Well,

4 (34m 37s):

It, it it be, it it went sour. Yeah. Yeah. You know, they were like, well, okay, we had a deal. Yeah. And. I’m like, well,

Sean P. Holman (34m 45s):

Yeah. Deal with Mike I.

4 (34m 46s):

Don. I’m like, don don’t know what happened. Yeah. We hop on a call. Yeah. Yeah. You can talk to Mike. Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, that’s when I, again, in hindsight, everything came to light. This, this was a deal in the works for almost a year and a half. Did

Sean P. Holman (34m 59s):

You bootstrap it? Did you have to take on some investors? Did you go to a bank and get a small business loan? Like, because there’s people listening right now who are gonna have opportunities and they don’t. I I think the thing is, when you start your own business, sometimes the business chooses you. Sometimes you don’t even choose the business. Right. But I think that there’s people going, I don’t know what it looks like when that day comes. It’s like, what, what I mean? You don’t have to tell us the, the dollar amount or how you did it, but I think just for other people listening on wanting to be entrepreneurs, like how did you navigate that? So the offer was presented to you and you’re like, whoa, what’s the next step? Do you call the bank and go, can I even get a loan for this? Yeah. Or do you call your wife and say, Hey, you’re rich, great grandfather. Like how old is he right now?

Sean P. Holman (35m 40s):

You know, like, how, what, what’s that? What’s two next step

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (35m 43s):

Two, I happen to know the answer. So first he robbed a bank and then judging by his physique, he was a male prostitute.

Sean P. Holman (35m 50s):

I don’t think any of those things are true. True.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (35m 52s):

Am I not accurate?

Sean P. Holman (35m 53s):

Are you undressing our guess in your mind? That’s weird.

4 (35m 57s):

Mike had given me, you know, what he would do? Yeah. If, if he was starting over again. Okay. And So I followed those steps. Okay. However, when you talk to the bank, they’re like, we need at least two years of tax returns. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And this and that. I’m like, well, I’m on day one. Yeah. Okay. So you have, you have your work cut out for you. Yeah. And so at that point, it, it was just, you know, I, I had working capital, you know. Okay. But Mike, Mike did leave money in the, in the, in the company in the

Sean P. Holman (36m 25s):


4 (36m 26s):

To at least run for a few pay periods. It goes, but the rest is on you

Sean P. Holman (36m 30s):

And. it goes fast.

4 (36m 31s):

It goes fast. Yeah. And, you know, thankfully, you know, I inherited two accountants that worked for the company remotely, and So I spoke with them almost every day. Okay. When this is due, what do I do? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Who do I write the check to? And And, it was just learning everything. It was a crash course. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And, it’s still a crash course. Yeah. Because

Sean P. Holman (36m 51s):

How long has it been now? Three

4 (36m 53s):

Years. Okay. So it’ll be three years in, in June. So fast forward,

Sean P. Holman (36m 57s):

I’m, so by the time you are listening to this podcast, I’m, I’m at year one.

4 (37m 1s):


Sean P. Holman (37m 2s):

So I’m two years trailing you. So I’m looking at you and you look successful. You have a logos, you’re smiling still. He’s laughing. So I’m hoping I can that’s, I’m looking at me two years in the future going Okay, All. right. We, we survived the, the rough part. Yes. And we’re, and and now we’re making a go of this thing.

4 (37m 19s):

Yes. And while, you know, my, my my two and a half years in Austin, my father-in-Law was my lifeline. He worked for RK Sport for 20 years. Had creative differences. Left two years after I joined the company. And So I was heartbroken. Yeah. Yeah. I’m like, we talked shop, we

Sean P. Holman (37m 37s):

About He is a mentor to you. Yes. You took his daughter from him. I mean

4 (37m 41s):

Dude. And now, and, and, and so he leaves and

Sean P. Holman (37m 44s):

Could you imagine you working with a dude, right? And you’re like, you become close with him and then you’re like, I’m gonna date his daughter and ruin this whole thing.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (37m 53s):

Yeah. You did him dirty in first.

Sean P. Holman (37m 55s):

Yeah. You did do him dirty. It.

4 (37m 57s):

Well, it, it, it, it, it got tricky after, after he left because it did become a conflict. You know, we’re both in the same space. He was the lead designer. He was the vision of the company. I just presented projects and proposals to them, And I, like, let’s, let’s attempt to execute these. But while I was in Austin, I told, he was the first person I told he go, because I, I, you know, was he happy

Sean P. Holman (38m 21s):

For you?

4 (38m 21s):

Oh, he’s like, this changes everything. He goes it, it we’re back. Yeah. Yeah. You know. Okay.

Sean P. Holman (38m 27s):

That make you feel good. It

4 (38m 28s):

Re Oh yeah. It it reintroduced our KPort back into his life. Yeah. And now my mission was to get back to Oceanside. Get back home. Yeah. As soon as possible. So

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (38m 39s):

The semis pulled up to the building a couple months later, beep

Sean P. Holman (38m 42s):

Beep, beep, beep. And they backed out

4 (38m 44s):

With the list. Oh, I get my receipt. You know, It is like 90 day guarantee in my mind. I’m like, okay, how do I do the day to day? And, and we moved to Huro. So Huro is is about maybe 15, 25 minutes east of, of Austin. You know, there’s so many small towns. Yeah, yeah. Much like, you know, LA or Orange County. The problem

Sean P. Holman (39m 4s):

With LA or Orange County, they all grew together to make one big giant town. That is true

4 (39m 8s):


Sean P. Holman (39m 8s):

Texas. There’s still space between some of ’em, you know, as you got out in the hill country, which is Freshing by the way. Yeah,

4 (39m 13s):

Absolutely. It was my mission to co to come back to, to California. I didn’t know how, because the day to day, the month to month I mean the company was living on check to check. Sure. As a brand new business owner with new employees almost every three months, the turnover was bad. And the ones that did stick around, it was like, okay, what’s next? You know, how many more times are we gonna train employees? Yeah, yeah. You know, be, this is getting boring, this is getting tiring. How am I supposed to keep morale up? Yeah. And at the same time, how am I, are

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (39m 44s):

You gonna get to the next level so you

4 (39m 46s):

Cash level in the bank? Yeah. You know, and So, it was, you know, trying to do SEMA, trying to do any shows in Texas. Texas is huge, big to make a trip out to Dallas, Houston or any of the shows in those areas. don don’t know. It’s tough. In California, it’s doable. You know, I mean going to Johnson Valley, going to King of the Hammer. Yeah, sure. Going to Big Bear, going to Mammoth. It’s still doable. Yeah. And it’s realistic. Whereas in Dallas, you’re taking a few days off.

Sean P. Holman (40m 13s):

Dude, it’s a long, it’s I mean. I don’t think people realize you could spend two days driving across Texas and not be across the state.

4 (40m 19s):

Well, all of our suppliers we’re in Austin composite. One is in Austin, It is in in Dallas and Houston. I couldn’t ha I couldn’t get any reps to come out and help me if I had any questions or issues. Yeah. You’re just too far. I don’t do Austin. Yeah. It’s like we just have trucks that, that drive in that through that area. And not only that, but the amount of resin and chemicals you use Yeah. Is a drop in the bucket compared to tankers of, you know, I use a drum a week. They use tankers a week. Yeah, sure. Oh, my God,

Sean P. Holman (40m 49s):

You’re small fries. They’re not, they’re not going to, you know, devote any time to come visit

4 (40m 52s):

You. Whereas in, in Southern, California have, you know, tens of different suppliers that I can get product the same day. Yeah. And so there’s a lot of things that, you know, if we can make it work in Texas, there still needs to be a much better infrastructure for at least my industry or my market. The ERC tax credit was my saving Grace is the company because we stayed open during the pandemic. We got money back from, you know, the taxes that the company paid for W2 employees. So basically that’s, I was like, this is it. Yeah. You know, these, these next few checks that are coming from the IRS, that’s what I’m going to use to move back to California.

4 (41m 34s):

And then so October,

Sean P. Holman (41m 36s):

Did anyone from Texas that you hired follow you to ca California?

4 (41m 40s):

I offered it. Yeah. I offered it. I

Sean P. Holman (41m 43s):


4 (41m 44s):

And it. Did

Sean P. Holman (41m 44s):

You tell ’em there’s more in, in and out density than there is in

4 (41m 48s):

There? There, there wasn’t enough time in the day to, you know, debate back and forth Yeah. Of the pros and cons. Yeah. Yeah. Not only that, but it’s no different than, you know, convincing California Of

Sean P. Holman (42m 2s):

Course. Well, that’s why I was curious because, you

4 (42m 4s):

Know, I, it was this and And it was, it was heartbreaking because it was the hardest thing I’ve had to do as a first time business owner. And, and they, they became, you know, the ones that did stick around, not to mention the, the two employees that that moved with the company. Yeah. I mean he uprooted his family. Yeah, yeah.

Sean P. Holman (42m 22s):


4 (42m 23s):

You know, I,

Sean P. Holman (42m 24s):

And you’re like, guys, I’m sorry, we’re going back.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (42m 25s):

He ended up staying in Texas. He

4 (42m 26s):

He stayed in Texas. No kidding.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (42m 28s):


4 (42m 28s):

I mean he, like you said, he sold his house, left California with no intentions of coming back. Hard to get

Sean P. Holman (42m 33s):


4 (42m 34s):

Hard to come back. And he, and you know, he, he told me, he is like, Hey, if I, if I do make my way back to California, you know, do, do I still have a job with you? I’m like, well, yes, absolutely.

Sean P. Holman (42m 43s):

I drug your ass out here. I’m bringing, I’ll bring you back. Yeah.

4 (42m 45s):

And so that, that was, you know, that was a very difficult Yeah. Moment. And that I had to get, you know, again, talking to my wife, I’m like, she’s my rock. She works for the company. She’s cu my customer service. My, my my sales representative, she, her background is in, in Starbucks for 14 years. Okay. So she knows how to deal with, with picky

Sean P. Holman (43m 7s):

Customers, people

4 (43m 7s):

Yeah. I mean we, we know what It is, what it’s like working with car enthusiast. Yeah, yeah. You know, it can be really good And it can be really bad. Yeah. Starbucks is no different except she doesn’t have drinks being thrown at her. Right.

Sean P. Holman (43m 17s):

Yeah. I saw that video the other day

4 (43m 20s):

That the, the, the RC tax credit’s, what brought me back to California. I’m like, All. right. Cool. I brought, and this time only I I, I did discontinue and do away with so much that I only brought, brought back

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (43m 33s):

The key, the key movers,

4 (43m 34s):

Two semi trucks. Oh,

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (43m 35s):

Okay. Oh wow. That’s a reduction. Yeah.

Sean P. Holman (43m 37s):

So were you able to sell any of the mold or did they just get trash? Was there anybody who was like a, you know, a conglomerate company that’s like, Hey, we will take that mold off your,

4 (43m 46s):

Well, throughout the two years I was getting rid of a lot of stuff. I’m like, you know, this is just a waste. We just gotta make room. And, and all my employees like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. What are you doing? What are you doing? Yeah, I could use that spoiler. Okay. Use it. Yeah. I can’t find anything that wanted on. Yeah, exactly. Why do you think we haven’t sold any of these? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. The moment I got rid of ’em, So I get a call. Of course. Hey, do you have a, the, the Monte Carlo spoiler. That’s how it works.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (44m 8s):

But it’s only one or two, whatever. Yeah, yeah. So you, you make it back, you find a good spot. I’m gonna flash forward a little bit here. You lease new buildings, you, you get it set up. You’re running, you’ve got now a paired down inventory of just the hot movers. Yep. Right. You’re bringing employees. Yes. Today you’ve got, did you a stable

Sean P. Holman (44m 26s):

Workforce bring back employees that had previously been with the company? Yes. And then, so you are So it help from a training standpoint. And then what was like the regulation, like you’re using a lot of chemicals. California obviously has really strict standards for that. Was

4 (44m 37s):

That it’s gotten harder and it’s gotten worse. Yeah. However, we did change our, our, you know, our, our operation in a, in for instance, we, we no longer spray our molds with, with a, with a spray gun. Okay. We don’t atomize the gel code. Yep. It’s done by hand. We have the right to do so without a permit. Okay. And because I I’m using pneumatic tools, there are no sparks. Yeah. So, I, I’m compliant with everything. The only gray area right now is the fumes and the vapors. Sure. Which speaking with my suppliers, I’m like, you would have to use maybe about four times the amount that you’re using to become hazardous.

4 (45m 20s):

Okay. Because once you, once you, you, you activate the, the catalyst and the resin and the gel coat within hours, the smell goes away. Yeah. With proper ventilation. It goes out the door. People, people walk by like, Oh, my God, it smells so good. Oh my God. What is, what is that? You know?

Sean P. Holman (45m 36s):

So I’m kind of curious just to the nuts and bolts of like your building. How did you find your building? Did you have to do renovations to add ventilation and a paint booth and those types things? Did you have any of that come back? Like was it, was it a area that you wanted to be in? Or did you have to sacrifice and move somewhere nearby because there wasn’t a great commercial fit? I mean, how did that work?

4 (45m 54s):

We did have to look for, you know, heavy industrial use, you know, a a a complex, a building that was zoned for that, you know, can’t be too close to residentials or schools

Sean P. Holman (46m 5s):

Yeah. Schools.

4 (46m 6s):

Yep. You know, moved back OC November of 2022. And so we, we have just moved back and we’ve been searching everywhere in Southern, California. And you know, in, in, in the north county area of San Diego, there aren’t too many places that are between 5,000 and 10,000 square feet.

Sean P. Holman (46m 26s):

They’re all really big or really small. Exactly.

4 (46m 28s):

Yeah. And if you do find something within like the five to 8,000 square foot, especially at that time at, at the end of the year, everybody was like, well, I want five months, six months rent upfront. You know, they just wanted a ridiculous deposit upfront. I’m like, I don’t have that. Yeah. Not only that, but you know, again, they were looking at the business. Oh, you’re relocating. Why are you relocating? So, you know, they’re, they’re asking,

Sean P. Holman (46m 52s):

Are you outrunning your creditors? Yeah.

4 (46m 55s):

And so they’re like, oh, you moved a lot in the past few years. I’m like, yeah, it’s I mean, don. Don’t know if you can tell, but we’ve been through a pandemic. We’ve been through its, you know, shortages. And one of my, one of my good friends that I’ve known for 20 years is he, he has an, an auto body shop. He, he was getting ready to move from his suite to two doors down to a much bigger facility. And I’m like, he, he told me, he’s like, well, what do you, you know, what size are you looking for? I’m like, at least 5,000. I was like, mine’s 38 but it’s there. And So, I, subleased. And so moving in New City, city of Oceanside, anytime you, you have to apply for a business license.

4 (47m 35s):

Yeah. Yeah. So that’s, that’s when the fire inspector comes, takes a look at everything. You know, it’s a little confusing because when you apply for a business license, they, they, they, they tell you like, Hey, just make sure you have that Everything is zoned for it. Yeah. Make sure that the permits will work for this. Yep. Before you sign the lease. However, when the fire inspector shows up that the first time they showed up, they’re like, this is empty. I’m like, well, I didn’t wanna fully set up because I wasn’t sure that, that, you know, the application says don’t sign the lease. Yeah. I’m like, I already signed the lease. Yeah. What do I do? I’m kind of stuck. And they’re like, well, we’ll come back in in 30 days. Make sure you’re fully set up. So we’re fully set up. There’s a few, you know, violations from the previous tenant that they still hadn’t fixed So.

4 (48m 21s):

it was just little, little minor things. They’re like, we’ll come back. They come back, we’re up and running. We’re laminating. We had a few molds that were painted I. mean, talk about the, the timing of everything. Like we were in the thick of like bonding hoods, laminating And. she comes in and then, you know, the, the resin just slaps her in the face. And so she goes, wow, I can taste it. I’m like, well, you’re like two feet from me, Of. course you’re gonna, and you don’t have a respirator. You know, my guys have the half mass respirator. Yep. They’re like, no, I think you’re gonna need a ventilation permit.

Sean P. Holman (48m 56s):

Here we go. Here come the government, put their hands out

4 (48m 59s):

And So, I go to the city. I talked to them and I’m like, Hey, fire department fire inspector sent me over here. What, what type of permit you’re looking for? They said a ventilation permit. Okay, well what do you do? I’m like, we, we, we make fiberglass parts. We hand paint and we do everything by hand. We don’t use any machinery. Like, well, okay, you’re gonna need a tenant improvement plan. Okay. And again, all terminology that I have no idea what they’re saying. So they’re like, here, you can call a draftsman an engineer. Don’t call an architect. They’ll charge you too much. So they’re telling me what to do, who to call. I do all those things.

4 (49m 40s):

And everybody that talks to me, they’re like, are you kidding

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (49m 43s):

Me? You don’t need that. Yeah.

4 (49m 44s):

Like, that is a waste. I would fight it if I were you, I’d fight it. If they don’t want to, if they don’t wanna budge, take it to the news. Just keep escalating. I’m like, they hate small

Sean P. Holman (49m 53s):

Business. Dude. You’re a little guy in a 3,800 square foot commercial building.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (49m 57s):

You know what, you know what It is though? This So I found this trying to feed my kids. I, we, I’ve done this before. I’ve been an entrepreneur a few times. And, and most of the people at the cities have not been an entrepreneur. No. They graduated college and they got a job working for a municipality and they’ve received a paycheck, steady and benefits. Their job is to do this to you. And they’ve never had to be on that side of the fence before for the most part. I’m sure there’s exceptions, right? But like, they can’t perceive of what they’re asking of you. Yeah. They can’t even imagine what it, what it means to you to say, go get all these permits.

4 (50m 31s):

Yep. And the You’re right. They’re just looking at the code that’s on the inspection report. Yep. Oh yeah. You need this. Okay. How do I get that? Well, don don’t know. Talk to the inspector. The inspector told me to talk to you. Oh, well then you need to talk to building official. I’ve left them several emails and messages. They haven’t gone back. Oh, he’s on vacation. Oh. And they’re off every other Friday. Of course. Oh. Like, okay, well when do they work? I’d like to know because I, I, I’d like to get this resolved. You know, I’m first time moving into the city, coming back from out of state, So I. I have to get this up and running and So. it was just a constant.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (51m 7s):

It’s great ’cause you’re like, I wanna give you my money. Yeah. I wanna give you my tax dollars.

Sean P. Holman (51m 11s):

Well, not really. Well,

4 (51m 13s):


Sean P. Holman (51m 13s):

Know, I

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (51m 13s):

Know. But you’re, they’re gonna get ’em whether you want it or not. Right. But you’re like, I’m trying to contribute to this community and you refuse to take my money.

4 (51m 21s):

And the crazy part is the EPA and everybody enforcing all these regulations. Nothing really has, nothing has changed in operating in, in the business. Yeah. Aspect of composites. I mean I mean Oceanside. There are a hundred surf companies, Of course surf

Sean P. Holman (51m 40s):

Boats, I mean all sorts of stuff. Right.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (51m 42s):

Everything. Fiberglass, fiberglass, fiberglass.

4 (51m 43s):

Yeah. And I’m on, I’m down our original location talking to all of these businesses. I’m like,

Sean P. Holman (51m 48s):

Hey, like, what did you do? What

4 (51m 49s):

Did you do? Oh, we, we’ve been here for 30 years,

Sean P. Holman (51m 52s):

So we’re grandfathered in. They don’t care about

4 (51m 53s):

Us. They never had to ask us anything. We I mean we yet to get a visit from, from fire department or fire marshal. And since we moved in Yeah. Yay for me. Yeah. You know, I get to be the Guinea pig. Yeah. And see how these new rules get enforced and how we, they, they, you know, stick the course. Yeah. Right now I am, I am still in the process of of, of working out a, an application. I can’t even submit a plan myself. It has to be through an approved, you know, general contractor.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (52m 23s):

That’s insane.

Sean P. Holman (52m 23s):

Gotta love having, you know, small business support.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (52m 27s):

Congratulations on the move. Thank you. The successful replanting of the business. Yes. Let’s talk about product.

4 (52m 36s):

Yes. I’m way behind the, the last project that

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (52m 39s):

We maybe don’t tell our audience that ’cause they wanna buy your product. So let’s not tell ’em it’s six months to get a hood. No,

4 (52m 45s):

No, no. Our lead times have been cut drastically. We are, we’re well within two weeks. Oh. Whereas we used to be two months. Carbon was,

Sean P. Holman (52m 54s):

Well, especially when you’re moving. Yeah. You’re like, oh, it’s gonna take a couple months. ’cause we’re, all of our stuff’s on a freight line truck. It is halfway between here and Texas. Right. And I’m looking for a building. And I just got shut down because Oh yeah. My fumes. And so

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (53m 7s):

Let’s talk about the hoods that you,

Sean P. Holman (53m 9s):

So I was gonna say. I was, say real quick on, on Hood. So Chevy Silverado, you’ve got everything from oh seven all the way up to 23. Yes. So you’re current on that on Ram. You’ve got oh nine through current Ram 1500, and you got 19 to 18 Ram hd. And you got a lot of stuff going on for Ford. You’ve got F-150 hoods from oh nine to 2020. Super Duty hoods 2011 to 2017 and up Ranger Raptor Hoods 1719 Bronco Ranger 2019 to current. And I’m just gonna go over the trucks. You got the GMs similar to the Chevy. Yep. So oh seven up to, are you close to current on that one?

4 (53m 52s):

No, no. I’m behind on the Chevy. The silver OSDs. Yeah. And the, and the GMCs. Yep. So

Sean P. Holman (53m 59s):

Then oh seven and 14 on the Sierras you got Wrangler Hoods. So JK and JL jl. And then don’t miss I mean it’s important. Can’t miss the Pontiac Solstice oh 6 0 9. Yes. And in case any of you have a solstice

4 (54m 14s):


Sean P. Holman (54m 14s):

Sky. And sky, if you got a Saturn sky And, it’s sitting in your garage or you’re about to inherit one from your, you know, favorite uncle or something like that. Make sure. And then you got FJ Cruiser. You got Tundra, you got Tacoma. Sequoia. But obviously the Toyota body shop has just changed. So I’m sure you’re gonna be on those things pretty quick. Yes.

4 (54m 29s):

And so we ventured into the wide body in 2017 with the Silverado. A lot of our customers were like, you have to do be fenders and bedsides. We love your hoods. We need something different. We, you know, we’re just, we’re we’re looking for something different. Did

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (54m 47s):

You feel like if you did that you’d be stepping on some of your, some of your counterparts in Southern, California that make Not at all. You know, I, I,

4 (54m 53s):

I I, I’d love and, and and respect what, what Tim at a DV is doing. You know, fireworks McNeil, great companies. Great companies, because they we’re on our own lane, honestly. You know, Tim is crushing it in the Bronco world. I mean he’s first to market. Yeah. And just took off with it.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (55m 12s):

And that’s at a DV? No. Which A DV.

4 (55m 14s):

Okay. A DB

Sean P. Holman (55m 15s):

And Bronco’s easy because the body panels literally just bolt off. Yes. Right. Like the rear quarter panels. It’s super easy to put body panels on those things. And

4 (55m 21s):

The, the Silverado, you know, so the Silverado was our first, you know, what theme did we go with? You know, we went with dirt king, go with the long travel setup, you know, bigger wheels, wider stance. However, after we released it, then the questions came, you know, can you go four inches, six inches? Yeah. Would

Sean P. Holman (55m 40s):

You start with three,

4 (55m 41s):

Three and a half. Three and a half?

Sean P. Holman (55m 42s):


4 (55m 43s):

So we went with three and a half because we, we went with dirt king’s long travel. Yep. And so with the right Wheel specs offset everything. I mean. The truck looked perfect. It it It is perfect. Even GM drove, you know, came by and they’re like, we, we did put carbon fiber bow ties and So it disqualified us from their, their awards.

Sean P. Holman (56m 1s):

Oh. Because he took off their logo. Oh

4 (56m 3s):

Yeah. And I’m like, I will grab acetone

Sean P. Holman (56m 5s):

To Yeah. We undo that immediately.

4 (56m 8s):

And so Andrew link, you know who, who, who photographed for the, the awards that year. And he’s like that. We almost got the truck. You almost picked the truck.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (56m 17s):

Oh, just for the logos. You didn’t Oh. no.

4 (56m 19s):

You have to respect the bow tie. And like Ford, you have to oval preserve the blue oval. Yeah. The Silverado. You do have to skin the bed. And so that was a part of the reason. The other reason is you have the, the, the long bed, the six and a half. And then you have, you know, the crew cab, the five and a half. So there’s so many bed variations. There’s so many Wheel base body lines, Wheel width variations. And I’m like, for one truck you need at least six eight molds. That’s, that’s overkill. Yeah. And so we did it just to see how we did. I did very well. So, yes. You know, for, from a price point as well. I was like, well, it’s hard to compare the apples and oranges because aesthetically they look the same.

4 (57m 2s):

Yeah. The feeling’s the same. However fiber works. Say McNeil is offroad, it’s designed for the offroad So. it is just a different application.

Jay “Lightning” Tilles (57m 12s):

When you say it’s designed for the off-road, meaning it’s thinner designed to break, or it’s thicker and designed to not break, like, or yours is for aesthetics and show. Like what, what are the differences?

4 (57m 21s):

I, I would say that McNeil and, and fireworks, you know, if you look at, go on their website and you look at the, their product catalog, It is meant for these project trucks. You know, kind of like the, the drift scene. You know, you have panels that aren’t lining up. You have, you know, at first when they’re brand new and, and, and you fit it up the, the first time, it’s going to look great. It’s gonna look great on the truck. But after that truck over, over miles, you’re thrashing.

Sean P. Holman (57m 45s):

Yeah. And you, and you slotted the hole cycling. So things are moving. Yeah. Yeah.

4 (57m 50s):

We design ours for the intention of being on your permanent street daily vehicle. However, the, if you modify it to go off road Yeah. It can handle the off road. Yeah. Just, it, it It is structurally stronger for permitting know, lasting life of the, of, of the truck on a drift car or on a, on a, on a, on a Baja truck

Sean P. Holman (58m 11s):

Rep repair. You blow a up, it’s almost disposable.