Rolling along

41. Weatherhead 100

If you look around at Blackburn’s Hubcaps & Wheels, signs of growth are everywhere. Owners Jimmy and Torrey Blackburn just moved the business, which sells replacement wheels on the secondary market, to a new 145,000-square-foot facility and they’ve added five new employees with plans to add more.

“Probably one of the biggest reasons for our success as of lately is the market,” Jimmy Blackburn says. “Your consumer can buy a product from us for about 65 percent off what the new dealer list price is. In a tough economy, everybody is looking for some cost savings across the board, no matter what product they’re buying.”

Knowing how consumers’ minds work, the Blackburns have worked aggressively over the past few years to stock inventory that will last them for the next few years.

“We’re in a unique industry where inventory is not always readily available,” Blackburn says. “When it is available, whether it be manufacturer liquidation or another distributor liquidation, we’ve had the financial wherewithal of buying in larger bulk quantities and holding that inventory.”

The company may end up with two or three year’s worth of supply all at one time, but this has allowed it to forecast out how much product it will actually need and then send out the excess through a wholesale network.

“We’ve always been aggressive,” Blackburn says. “We’ve been in business 25 years and have been in tune with the changing market and open to taking on additional product lines. … We’ve just been a firm believer that you need to continue to grow, particularly in these economic times.”

Some may say that’s easier said than done, but instead of focusing on the negative aspects of the economic challenges, the Blackburns instead look at the positives.

“There’s market share that’s available because of other companies dropping off,” Blackburn says. “You really just have to take a look at it, and this is a great time for companies to step ahead if they have the wherewithal to see what’s changing in their individual market and industry and capitalize on it, whether it’s buying equipment discounted, buying property or buying inventory or picking up employees that wouldn’t otherwise be available.

“Everything is on sale right now across the board. In a nutshell, just be aware and don’t be scared to take a chance on opportunities that arise because of the down economy.”

How to reach: Blackburn’s Hubcaps & Wheels, (800) 981-8321 or

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