We're new, we're small, and ready to take the Midwest by Storm\!
Some of you know us as Blue Line Upfitters, you may have followed our Facebook page, Instagram, or seen us at Cars and Coffee. Essentially we're the same company with a new name and image. Blue Line Upfitters was formed in 2013 with a few general rules, give the customers something new and different, offer quality products and builds, while striving to exceed in customer service. We quickly morphed from being the new- comers in local Emergency Vehicle Upfitting to a full service truck and jeep accessory shop.
This last year has been a whirlwind for us with many ups and downs, including 5 different shops and locations. Seeing so much change and how fast we were switching directions it was important for us to shift our image to present our brand better to our clients.
With the help up a long lost friend and fellow Young Life leader Jacob Reinholdt we formed the new name and image on a Mac (the new napkin) over a few beers and pizza. I told Jake I wanted something clean simple and catchy, that could withstand time, and that could cross over into different fields with little effort. In my head it was easy and I wasn't asking for much.... Jake just kind of looked at me confused, and kept drinking his beer. I wanted 1 word, 1 simple word that could be a brand. A word that I could put in front of another word and explain to thousands of people with little effort what our company did. You see this was important for me because over the years we've been asked by everyone what we did, and that was always hard for me to explain, because we could do a lot. It was almost easier to tell people what we didn't do.
Then it happened I looked at a shirt in my closet from an organization called SDIA (Sheep Dog Impact Assistance) their logo was a dog. Then while browsing through Instagram I saw a tool box made by Husky, again their logo a dog. It was that simple, I have a dog, and she just so happens to have a cool name. I know what you're thinking, who in the hell names their dog Offroad, well her names Storm. So we had the first part of the name down. 1 simple word something we could build a brand around, yet something that was also very meaningful. Storm\
So you ask why off-road? Well again it's simple. I've been a car nut since a young age. I love anything to do with cars, driving them, working on them, and most of all making them my own. I had a few trucks that got my hooked on the truck scene. But it wasn't until we bought one of my dream cars a Jeep Wrangler JK, that really lit the fire. It was going to be Caitie's daily driver (you'll learn about her later) and my toy. Within an hour off purchasing it, I had already put my twist on it, removing the chrome, the stickers, and cleaning it up to start the blank canvas. We reached out to a local company Steinjager who was hosting a first time event called Jeep Blitz. We went over to tour their facility and decided to sponsor the event and have a vendor booth. Going to that event solidified buying a Jeep was the right move, right now in our life (Caitie might not agree). Seeing hundreds of Jeeps that weekend and coming to the realization that we purchased the swiss army knife of customized vehicles, we we're pumped.
We began re-branding Blue Line Upfitters to something more simple BLU. Yet still every time we handed out a business cards we got the same question what do you do? It was frustrating because those that knew us for emergency lighting had no clue we worked on Jeeps and those that knew us for jeeps had no clue we worked on emergency vehicles. We essentially had a failing marketing strategy. Our Facebook had almost 1000 likes, Instagram around 200 posts and about the same amount of follows and that took us 3 years to accomplish. All of this lead to that simple yet effective word off-road. It's a multi-faceted term which would allow us to breach a whole new clientele and explain to our current clients about our passion. \Offroad
So Storm\Offroad was born, we began in late September and within hours of deciding on the name, the Facebook page, Instagram account, email, and website were created. Within a day the logo was perfected and branding begun, all thanks to Jake he's a genius! We were scheduled to attend SEMA 2016 the first week of November. We were under the gun for T-shirts business cards and to create a strong image before shaking the hands of new vendor partners at the show. We're currently 6 months in and our Instagram page has nearly 5000 followers, we've met countless new clients seeking an off-road shop, and its a whole lot easier explaining to people or brand. We've been approached by various vendors wanting us to show off their Proving my point of how important effective branding is, especially in a small business.
We're stoked to see the change and excited for what 2017 has to offer us. We would invite you to like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and stay tuned for our blog post which will help paint the picture of Storm\Offroad!