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WD Automotive

Submitted by: Ken Welke
Business Website:
State: Washington
City: Everett

Business Description

WD Automotive is a Jeep accessory company that designs, sources, and manufactures in all our products in the USA. We create our useful and unique products so that we can give back to our communities.

What one unique aspect of your business will make you succeed over the next year?

WD Automotive makes accessories for Jeeps. Our main product is GraBars–the first bolt-in steel grab handle ever invented for the “jeep.” The one unique aspect of WD that will make us succeed over the next year is simple: Love of Community. We believe everyone is part of many communities. Family is often your first and most cherished “community.” Love for our families spurred us to invent steel GraBars in the first place. We wanted a sturdy handle to help our loved ones get in and our of Jeeps. Unsteady fabric handles were all that was offered at the time. Making GraBars and other accessories takes a team. This team is another community we have love for and want to benefit. All of our employees are hard working Americans who care for others. We put that care–that love–into our products. Creating jobs and sourcing our materials locally helps the community as a whole. We also have love for the community of humans who span the globe. A core value at WD is to help take care of those who cannot help themselves. We purchase goats, chickens, and pigs for families in Africa; we sponsor 7 orphans more to come; we've paid for our first orphan to attend college; we are saving to build and furnish an entire high school in Kenya; and we donate to as many causes as we can. In fact, if we were to win the prize for this very contest we will be donating it too. Yes, Love of Community is a unique aspect of WD Automotive that will continue driving us forward to success this year.

How does your business make a positive impact on the community?

WD Automotive makes a positive impact on our community several ways. The most visible way would be the fact that every possible part of our company is local. We design, manufacture, package, and ship our products all within a small 20 mile radius. We use local suppliers to source American materials too. A less visible but more important way we make a positive impact on the community has to do with how we support our employees. You see, ALL WD Automotive employees do community volunteer work. It is a passion. So we do our best to make it easy for our employees to keep their commitments as volunteers. We work around their schedules so they can continue to help the community.

What would you do with a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, training, and help from a SCORE mentor to grow your business?

WD Automotive would donate the $1000 gift card to a local cause or school. Having already experienced training from a SCORE mentor (two, in fact!) we know we would continue to listen carefully to the brilliant advise they have to offer and, applying it as we move forward.

The following responses will be considered in judging for a SCORE Award.

How has working with a SCORE mentor helped your business?

Thus far we have had two visits from a team of two SCORE mentors. The amount of practical experience they bring to the table has been invaluable! On the one-hand, they let us know all the things we are already doing right. Validation is a wonderful thing and it removes some of the worry you have running a business when successful individuals who've “been there” let you know you’re right on track. On the other hand, they’ve provided a completely different point-of-view which has lead us to make changes we’d never have thought of. For example, our SCORE mentors suggested changes to both our website and main product brochure that simplify things for both us and the customer. We can't recommend SCORE enough!

Have you had to overcome any obstacles along the way to build your business?

The biggest obstacle has been the fact that unscrupulous over-seas companies have decided to copy our hard work and take money from our families and communities. They produce vastly inferior handles which can break. WD Automotive is more concerned with our customer’s safety than we are with the small amount of sales these knock-offs take from us. We are happy to be located within the USA where we see much less of this occurring. To date, only one US based company has decided to carry and openly disregard decency by selling over-seas based knock-offs. We have an ongoing social media campaign to raise awareness of them and help people to get an actual quality product in stead of something that may very well harm their family.

How will you utilize the marketing video and national recognition of winning a SCORE Award to help take your business to the next level?

We hope that publicity will, of course, spur sales of our products. We know we've barely touched our market. If so, that would allow us to build more high-schools, adopt and educate more orphans, feed more needy, as well as to offer larger contributions to the various Jeep events which support hundreds of causes all over the world.
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