Wilmington-headquartered National Speed opened its newest location in Richmond, Virginia, this summer and has plans for even more expansion in the coming years.
The company’s grand opening celebration at the 15,000-square-foot modern performance speed shop in the Staples Mill Shopping Center, 4000 Glenside Drive in Richmond, Virginia, is planned for July 28, according to Ryal Tayloe, president and CEO of National Speed.
But a soft opening of the new shop took place June 11 and already the new facility has been “very well received,” he said.
So far, the company has built its Richmond team with eight technicians and one calibrator. One former Wilmington employee that was promoted to a leadership role there, he said.
“The team has a very diverse skill set and knowledge base,” Tayloe said of the hires. “And then, we also have great technology behind them so they can quickly look up things. That kind of enables our team to serve a very wide variety of all makes and models of cars and all sorts of different projects.”
The company has been working to educate the Richmond community about National Speed, its concept and the variety of speed shop services it offers, he said.
National Speed is offering custom dyno tuning on its all-wheel-drive in-ground dyno (a machine that shows the power of an engine) at the location.
“The linked feature on the dyno is important because it allows us to work with all-wheel drive cars - rear wheel drive, front wheel drive, all different cars. And because it’s in-ground [and] low-car friendly ... there are very few cars we can’t tune,” Tayloe said.
Other services include a variety of performance installations as well as custom fabrication.
“Our fabrication services come in when there's not a part available that fits or meets the need for that specific project; we can actually make that part in house. We have the tools and the know how to do that and we pride ourselves in being creative and being craftsman,” he said.
Back at the Wilmington location, 6779 Gordon Road, business has continued to thrive. In consumer demand for services, it has about a five-month backlog of projects, he said.
“The first half of this year, it looks like that will be our best half-year ever, which is really exciting,” Tayloe said.
He credited the Wilmington location to helping the company push forward with its new customer base in Richmond in building trust with the community because "folks who are giving us a try and learning, because they can see a living, breathing showcase of our work down in Wilmington.”
Tayloe also said the Wilmington shop has benefited from the rising tide of National Speed becoming a “more national solution to the problems that have existed for a long time in our industry,” he said.
To support the two shops, National Speed added a new hire to its corporate team earlier this year and plans to hire additional people as it ramps up its location in Richmond and looks to additional national markets.
The company has 18 employees between its corporate headquarters in downtown Wilmington, at 21 S. Front St., and its two shop locations. Tayloe said National Speed has plans to grow that number to about 25 people by the end of the year.
The company isn't stopping there. In December, Tayloe said the company was looking to expand into additional markets
. And the company today is on pace to move forward, with sights set on a third location and grow with additional locations in the coming years.
“We're just starting our analysis now on our third location. We intend to add two to three more locations in the next 12 to 18 months and continue expanding to 25 or 30 locations in the next three to four years or so," Tayloe said. “Our plan is to have national speed locations all over the country."
In the meantime, plans are to focus on building up its Richmond market, he said.
“I've been excited that we've been able to not only get some early traction in Richmond but also continued running a great business down here," Tayloe said.