Garden Grove, CA
Industry: Consumer & Lifestyle
Products: Off-Road Shock Absorbers
Machining talent and a passion for quality and off-road performance drive success for King Shock's family founders.
The company’s founders, Lance King and his sons Ross and Brett, started the company during a stressful time in their lives. "We were all unemployed at the same time," says company president and co-founder Brett King. "All we knew how to do was machine parts, so my dad designed some extremely high-end shock absorbers, and we decided to build the best products possible without compromises. We simply wanted to build race car shocks with the idea that we don’t have price competition."
It didn’t take long for racers to learn how well the shocks worked in extreme conditions. The company grew and despite being approached by OE auto manufacturers, King and his family wanted to perfect their craft and stay in the niche market they enjoyed the most. "We’ve been approached by the OE’s to build their shock absorbers, but we didn’t want to get into a stressful situation that comes with working with OE’s," says King. "Our goal was never to sell millions of shock absorbers. We never even had a business plan. We simply needed to pay my dad’s mortgage and do what we love to do."
Ultimately, sticking to their niche has translated to the company creating new products for a growing number of truck and Jeep owners who want that same level of performance for their street vehicles. "We never really knew that off-roading would get to be as big," says King. "We were really just a race-car company, but more people wanted our shocks for their standard Ford F-150, Toyota Tacoma, Ford Raptor, Chevy pickups and more. So we’ve recently begun making replacement OE shocks for those people too."
The company’s replacement shocks fit into late-model vehicles without any special modifications, but include the same cooling and rugged technology that is used in the company’s racing shocks. "There are more and more people who want to use their everyday vehicle as a ‘toy’ on the weekend, " says King. "With a few minor modifications and our shock absorbers, they can truly have a reliable daily driver, and get more off-road performance to create what we call a dual-purpose vehicle. "
The result allowed the company to recently expand and move into a new 55,0000 square-foot facility, where all of the design, manufacturing, assembly, and shipping is done. "It makes everyone a little happier when you have more than five feet of space around you," says King with a chuckle. The company utilizes the latest in CNC machines, CAD software and hand assembly to create the ultimate off-road racing shocks. Assembly and testing is all done by hand and the materials are all source locally, making each product truly made in America.
King’s workers are also off-road enthusiasts who take pride that their products are on the race vehicles that are winning races like the SCORE Baja 1000. "We want to build shocks for the upper five percent of the market," says King. "They share our enthusiasm for the sport and our commitment to building the best shocks available." Racing teams continue to win using King shocks, and the company is also the Official Shock of SCORE International, the race organization that puts on the SCORE Baja 500 and SCORE Baja 1000 races. As the company continues to grow, King and his family continually focus on making their products bigger and better.
Needs: "We’re constantly needing to adapt to new technologies," says King. "As the vehicles get better, faster and stronger, we need to make sure our shocks remain reliable and that they can withstand the added abuse."
Challenges: "Being in Southern California is always a challenge, especially for our workers," says King "It’s hard to find workers that live close enough to make a living on what we’re paying so their commute is sucking up all of their paychecks. Nevertheless, we’re in a good area and it’s our hometown. We’re close to the beach, mountains, deserts, and sand dunes so for us off-road enthusiasts, Southern California is the place to be."
Opportunities: "The tremendous growth in the UTV (side-by-side) market has dramatically helped our business," says King. "Not only are there more UTV racers wanting to use our shocks, but recreational UTV owners also want that same performance when they hit the desert and sand dunes."
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