National Speed, a local car performance shop in Wilmington, is expanding to Richmond next spring with its sights set on additional markets in the coming years.
The company recently announced plans to build a 15,000-square-foot “modern performance shop” in a newly renovated building at the Staples Mill Shopping Center, 4000 Glenside Drive, in Richmond, said Ryal Tayloe, president and CEO of National Speed.
"We are very excited to announce that we selected Richmond, Virginia, as the market for our second National Speed location," Tayloe said. "On top of that, the Wilmington location of National Speed has been able to progress and it looks like we will break all of our records for this year."
The company is also looking to expand into 25 to 30 markets over the next four to five years, but Tayloe said the firm plans to keep its headquarters in Wilmington.
"We have our corporate office downtown on 21 South Front St. and will continue to build out our corporate team to support our locations," Tayloe said. "We will continue to have our flagship and first location here in Wilmington on Gordon Road. And we will continue to expand to additional markets after we get Richmond up and running."
The new performance shop location is "smack dab in the center of where people shop, work and eat in the Richmond market," Tayloe said about the site selected for the expansion.
The company was able to successfully raise capital for the expansion, most from local angel investors. The amount raised was not disclosed.
National Speed chose Richmond through analytical models, basing the data on the market demographics, the types of vehicles people own at the location and the number of high-performance car enthusiasts in the area, officials said.
"It turns out, for example, Richmond has a very vibrant race community and a very vibrant car enthusiast community," Tayloe said. "We're looking forward to addressing a new audience, relatively close to Wilmington."
The Richmond building will feature a retail center and showroom, a nine-bay high-performance shop with views for customers and a glass-enclosed all-wheel-drive dyno (a machine that shows the power of an engine) in the customers' lounge to view their vehicles' performance, he said.
Tayloe said construction is underway. Wilmington firm Lisle Architecture & Design Inc. was used in the design of the Richmond project and Richmond-based firm J.A. Heisler Commercial & Industrial Contracting was selected for construction. The second location is expected to open in March or April.
National Speed currently has 10 employees in Wilmington. The company plans to hire 15 additional employees for the new location in Richmond. The company also has an additional Wilmington employee beginning Jan. 2 and is actively recruiting for a technical information manager to help the team support both locations and further expansion, Tayloe said.