By Bethany Fuller | Statesville R&L
Published: July 10, 2009
Newly relocated Kooks Custom Headers wasted no time this week looking for new clients in the motorsports industry and restarting its production line.
A good number of its new employees — who started work Monday — previously worked in the racing industry, Sales and General Manager George Rumore said.
Statesville Business Park's first new business since 1995 didn't miss a beat on its production schedule as it finalized its move from Bay Shore, N.Y.
"We were basically breaking down and packing up the facility in New York while production was going on," Rumore said. "You have other people relying on the production for their businesses. Production in a timely manner is big for us."
President George Kook Jr., who owns the company with his father, CEO George "Papa" Kook Sr., said he looked everywhere from Virginia to South Carolina before settling on the Charlotte area.
Kook said he was attracted to Statesville for its skilled labor force and room to expand. The 12 acres of business-park land is enough to hold three buildings, which Kook hopes the company can expand into within three years. He said the new facility has a research and development department, office, a separate grinding room and two lobbies.
In New York, the company modified the building to suit its needs. Kook said employees were forced to wear masks because the ventilation system consisted of ceiling and floor fans.
"The transformation was nice," Kook said. "I designed the building for now and in the future."
The new facility is completely different from the pre-constructed one the company left in Long Island, and Rumore said the company made the move at the right time.
"The motorsports industry is dwindling in New York," he said.
Here, Kook Custom Headers employees are working around construction workers, and production is up to 80 percent of the company's capacity as it unpacks its gear, Rumore said. Production is currently around two to three weeks behind, which is normal, he said.
In addition to the custom headers, a big part of the business is making headers and exhaust systems for dealers, Rumore said. Kooks' makes around 350 parts.
The company's client list includes many of the area's top racing teams, as well as custom car shops and car enthusiasts.
"I have a lot of stuff going on," George Kook Jr. said. "You have to make it happen. You have to get out there and rock and roll. I have a little knot in my stomach."