Couple Trade In Regular Jobs for "American Dream" - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/13/02 - Troup

Couple Trade In Regular Jobs for "American Dream"

"All I ever needed to have was the idea. And when I saw, I just knew it was the right time to do it." - Jeff Vey

The dream was a bit "out there". Jeff and Diane Vey had regular jobs... Jeff, a manager for Roadway Express. Diane was a Whitehouse school librarian. They chose to leave it all behind.

Diane: "It's not easy. It is by far the hardest thing we have ever ever done."

They decided to up and leave for chrome, leather, and a new road. They saw three wheeled conversion motorcycles and fell in love

Jeff: "I decided if we made some changes we could do it better. You've got a window of opportunity when you can sieze the moment. And you don't waver when you do that, you just suck it up and go."

Motortrike was born. Eight years later, their plant in Troup turns out more than sixty of them a month to 130 dealers nationwide.

"We cashed in all our retirement-- everything that we had built up, we took out loans." says Jeff.

Cash flow was their number one concern, and the number one reason many businesses fail. Through the years, any return on investment hasn't been their return at all.  It can't be.

"The money that comes into the business has to stay in the business. If you start to grow the business, this is not the time that you go out and buy a new Viper, or lake house, or something. That money belongs to the company," says Jeff.

Their lives and the lives of their employees are dedicated to Motortrike. They say they've only hired skilled people who have a passion.

Jeff: "Don't hire a clydesdale when you need a thoroughbred. Get the very best you can."

Degreed welders, and meticulous builders only. Not just anyone gets hired.

"They will make or break your business."

When businesses expand, it's the most exciting time they say.  And the most dangerous. Money gets tight, and everyone holds their breath.

"Every time you grow, you're basically "re-anteing" into the table so to speak, and you need more chips to grow and grow and grow, and it needs every nickel and dime that you bring in."

Like many family businesses, Motortrike is not a one-person operation. Everyone has a hand in it. Jeff and Diane's four kids have all worked here.  And while he is the dreamer, she minds the store.

Jeff: "My bride is a T-crosser and an I-dotter of Biblical proportions, there is no detail which doesn't escape which is great because I'm not a detail person."

This has been a dream road, paved with blood and sweat, tears of joy and a few butterflies.

"It will take more time and effort than anything you've ever done, if you're going to be successful, you're going to have to pay your dues to make it happen."

Jeff says no doubting, you've got to have faith in yourself.  And no taking shortcuts.

"It doesn't leave until it's perfect, [until] it's done."

If the customer has a smile on their face, that's really all that ever matters.

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