As a mini truck enthusiast, I conceptualized Chux back in 1990.
At the time there were very few automotive accessory stores. I put together a business plan using books from the library, consulted with some guys I knew from a local wholesale automotive supplier, and started looking for funding. After about nine months, I was granted an SBA-backed loan. Next came the building. After a long search I ended up at a small shop that sat way back off the road in Independence, Missouri on the east side of Kansas City.
Chux Trux was in business. The first day I sold one bug shield. That’s all. The first month we totaled $12,000 in sales. Same the second month. There was one other employee at the time but he didn’t always show up for work. After a month went by, I let him go. For the next two months I sold and installed everything. The business was growing. In September, Shawn Shipers wandered in and we hit it off. I asked him if he needed a job and he said yes.
We grew steadily for the next 10 months, spending many nights working late. We were learning together how to install and what not to install. We were terrified of our first lift kit which was on a Jeep Commanche. We called the Trailmaster rep who promised to help us do the install. He didn’t show. From there, the lift kit business soared and we bought our first tire machine and wheel balancer. After working seven days per week (we were open Sundays) and helping every customer and answering every phone call, I was wearing out and needed some help. A recruiter friend of mine helped in finding a great store manager, Chris Ripper.
The three of us continued to grow the business and in 1993 we added a sales person/receiver and another installer. In August of 1995 we moved to our current Independence location in the Gasoline Alley shopping center. With continued momentum, in December of 1999 we opened our first satellite store in Overland Park, Kansas. Around the same time we acquired a camper shell store, Pickup Palace, which gave us the A.R.E. line and put us in the truck cap business. We ran Pickup Palace for a few years before consolidating it with our Independence store. We opened Chux in Olathe, Kansas in July of 2002 and Chux North in July of 2005. And with the need to spray our own liners, we acquired a competitor, Trucks First, in May of 2006.
Today, we have grown to multiple locations with over three dozen employees, including a commercial division selling B2B (business to business) - from car dealers, to contractors, to municipalities, and more. From that first bug shield sale to our now talented team of industry experts - What a ride it has been!