TRACK DAYS…. JJ CUSTOMS
What is your first memory of RC (Car, boat plane, etc…)
My first memory of RC is Christmas of ’86. I was 8 years old and my father got me the Tamiya grasshopper. I watched him build that car all day. When done we took it over to a local school and drove it. I remember even to this day the moment we had. I’ll never forget it
Guys in your group were always coming to you for repairs and ordering new parts or upgrades? Was that when you decided to start selling / working out of your garage?
I got back into RC in 2009. My first purchase was the brushless Traxxas 1/16 scale E-Revo. My first memory is it was RTR rather than a kit and the difference in the run time and speed compared to my first RC the Tamiya grasshopper. Long story short, I purchased 10 RCs within the first year. All Traxxas, it was the only brand other than Tamiya I knew of at the time. As I built a fairly extensive collection within a short time my better half suggested I start selling some of my personal collection. This led to the thought of starting to repair RC cars to fund my hobby. She agreed. So that’s what I did. That brings us to January 28th 2014 that was the day I established JJ Customs, LLC. My original location was in the garage at my home. I was primarily a weekend warrior however I did do RC repairs during the week.
Where did the name JJ CUSTOMS come from?
. The name JJ Customs, LLC. Originated with the idea that we wanted to be a custom hobby shop. We wanted to repair, build and upgrade everything RC at the same time offering an RC hub no pun intended for all of the RC enthusiasts in the Bay Area. As for the JJ portion of the name. My name is Jason. When I was a child my parents called me JJ. So I thought it would be cool to pay tribute to my folks.
How long did you work out of your garage?
I started the shop in the garage on January 28, 2014 before moving to our first storefront location in October of 2018. The 4+ years gave me the opportunity to build my supplier base which started with Redcat Racing. From there I was able to build and maintain a customer base and recruit for my store manager and head mechanic.
When was opening day at the shop in San Jose?
We had our grand opening at our store front in San Jose in November of 2018. It was a great turnout. Our existing customers and local RC enthusiasts came out to show their support. There are videos of this on YouTube and on our Facebook. If you have time you have to check it out. You can really capture the event. It was fantastic.
What do you see for yourself and the guys in the shop over the next year, 5 years 10 years?
Our goal as a hobby shop over the next 5 years would be to grow the RC community in the Bay Area. This is something everyone needs to be exposed to. I truly feel we are the people to do it. We have a lot of passion for this Hobby and realize how important it is in this day in age of mobile technology. We plan on doing this through weekly events at our shop. JJ Customs, LLC alternates between drag racing and indoor rock crawling weekly. Both events are free and there are prizes to win. Check our social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram to keep up-to-date on our events. We’re having a great time involving in the community in the shop. The only way to succeed is for everyone to get behind you. The way to do that is to get behind everybody. As for the next 10 years. We would like to expand to a second location. Hobby shops have been disappearing daily. It is a very difficult industry with tight margins however if you have the right team and customers it will work. Our second location would be either in Santa Cruz or San Francisco areas. It is sad to say both locations no longer have hobby shops.
If you could help change something about the RC industry what would it be?
Something that I would change with the RC industry… That is a really tough question. The suppliers, hobby shops and customers are what make the RC industry. There are + and – in all of these situations however overall the RC industry is great. You still have suppliers passionate about their industry, hobby shop owners passionate about the product and customers passionate about the hobby.
What’s your favorite part about this hobby?
The people are my favorite part about the hobby. I use the RC vehicles as a tool to get people to cross paths that normally would not in life. For example we all have a daily routine that typically consists of getting up going to work and coming home. In that time we cross paths with strangers but only for a small moment. This is where RC comes into play. We are all looking for an outlet to relax to unwind. RC was that for me. I love to be around people that have the same outlet and I am continuing to find out we have so much more in common.
What do you think will help grow the industry more?
Everything stems from the top. I’m a firm believer in that. From the suppliers to the hobby shops to the customers. We need to get the suppliers behind the shops, the shops behind the customers and the customers behind the shops. This can be accomplished. We need the suppliers to use the shops to really grow their brand and the Hobby in general. This can be done via shops testing vehicles/parts,etc. and to using these FREE social media outlets to show everybody the product and what it’s capable of. Lastly and we need the customers to support their local hobby shop. The only way this can be accomplished is by the hobby shop supporting them. The way this can be done is through the service & support at each interaction with the customer. Another way to help build this relationship is by posting and tagging your customer’s vehicles on your social media platforms. This is a great way to get your customers behind your shop. You have to show interest in what they are doing. If you don’t they will look for that somewhere else. Without the customers there are no hobby shops.