Featured at SEMA and in HOT ROD MAGAZINE, CAR CRAFT MAGAZINE and more, Kevin & Kelle Oeste’s business has a world-wide customer base.
V8 Speed & Resto Shop is located in Red Bud, a small town in Illinois. But their business is in no way small. Not only is it big – it’s worldwide. Owners Kevin & Kelle Oeste come from a TV production background and only started their business when they began filming their own classic restorations at Kelle’s parents’ farm. That was in 2004. After moving and acquiring their own property, and adding to their team, they now have over 20 employees and 3 buildings with more than 20,000 square feet.
They launched their V8TV show with the goal of sharing the right way to restore and modify classics and muscle cars. Kelle’s parents’ farm was the perfect spot for production. The first restoration taken on was a 1969 Camaro ragtop. It was built for Royal Purple Oil Company and called the Royal Sport.
From there V8TV also became V8 Speed & Restoration Shop. The evolution from a successful TV show to a companion restoration shop was organic. People saw the show and their restorations and asked Kevin & Kelle to take on their cars. Their intent of sharing the right way to restore and modify classics and muscle cars grew from that.
It was a great starter location for them But they knew they needed a bigger location. The first V8 location was just a small, 3,000 sq. ft. shop. And, for a while, it was just the two of them working on cars and handling the customers. They would work from 6am-3am the next morning, 7 days a week. If they kept going at it like that for any longer, they would eventually work themselves into an early grave. So, Kevin and Kelle thought how can they get more employees in this shop because they still were constantly having to turn down jobs since the demand was so high. They started looking for bigger locations, looking into expansions. Now, not only do they have 21 employees working for them but 3 separate buildings equating to over 20,000 sq feet. As Kevin says, “You won’t grow in your comfort zone.”
Their TV show and YouTube have really kept them busier than ever this past year. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way or another, and to keep Kevin and Kelle ahead of the curve they have been able to post a lot of valuable content for their viewers. YouTube has become their number one source of customers (52.7% in 2020). Over half of new customers for 2020. When they publish a build video series on a particular car in the shop, the inquiries flow in from others who want something similar. Kevin and Kelle use Facebook as a brand awareness tool also, but it’s really YouTube that brings in the customers. Plus 28% of leads are walk-ins, customer referrals, and word-of-mouth promotion combined.
When asked what Kelle & Kevin love most about owning their own shop, Kevin answered, “All of our techs have a voice, and we treat them all with equal respect. The result is a strong, positive culture where people love to come to work doing what they love. That’s pretty cool.” Pretty cool, indeed.
Before DRIVE the Oestes where pretty close to the vest about what information they’d feel comfortable sharing about their business. They feel DRIVE has proven to be a trustworthy resource that is only interested in seeing their business succeed, with excellent support and guidance to help make that happen. Since working with DRIVE Kelle has been able to decrease the number of hours working to eight. She then spends the other four hours figuring out ways to grow and improve the business. She feels she can take some nights or weekends off completely checked-out from the shop and relax. As she says, “Trust your instincts and delegate.”
Kevin still works during the day at the shop and then works on his laptop at night, but it’s because he wants to, not because he needs to. He’s also learned to delegate and entrust many tasks to other crew members, which has greatly reduced his stress level. “We’re extremely fortunate to have a great team that enjoys and cares about what they do,” say Kevin & Kelle. “We are also fortunate that we are able to reach customers all over the world and have always been busy. DRIVE has helped us make sense of it all, and we are all excited about greater accomplishments and success in the future!”
They’re restoration work is amazing and DRIVE is proud to count V8 Speed & Resto Shop among our clients.
Prepared by: Christian Cesena