A Henderson company is changing the way the world uses and sees trolleys, trams and shuttles.
The company, Specialty Vehicles, recently sold six of its best-selling Classic American Trolleys to Coastal Carolina University. They will replace shuttles to transport students around campus.
The company was started more than 30 years ago by CEO Nancy Munoz in Southern California. Since then it has expanded on a global scale, boasting clients ranging from America’s heartland to Asia. It has also become a family affair with Munoz’s daughters, Leah Munoz and Rachel Drenk, becoming a part of the team.
“We are a niche, and we have equipment and vehicles that other companies do not have,” Nancy Munoz said.
Although Specialty Vehicles has continuously experienced growth throughout its history, it has not been exempt from roadblocks and hurdles.
“When the economy got hit, we definitely felt it the hardest in the private sector, so we were lucky enough to have a lot of federal and state work. We have noticed that in the last few years more of our private customers are starting to feel more comfortable,” President Leah Munoz said.
Experiencing such a hard hit forced the family to adapt its strategies and work even more closely to address the needs of clients.
“Offering different finance options, letting them know that we understand that it is a big investment and that we can assist in getting the cost spread out. Specials and incentive plans get the customers interested in the equipment,” Leah Munoz said.
Specialty Vehicles is privately owned and declined to disclose sales figures. But Leah Munoz did say that there has been significant growth annually during the past five years.
The company continues to focus on innovation and standing apart from the competition.
“We try to keep inventory of equipment. None of our other competitors do that, and it gives us the opportunity to provide immediate delivery” Leah Munoz said.
The company has 11 employees and takes on freelancers during its busiest season, which is the summer.
Energy-efficient and low-emission vehicles are also part of Specialty Vehicles’ offerings. All vehicles are capable of running on liquefied petroleum gas and compressed natural gas.
The company often works with entities such as federal parks, local governments and botanical gardens. All those entities have come under stricter carbon-emissions regulations.
The team attributes part of its success to its move from Huntington Beach, Calif., to Henderson, where taxes and the cost of production are lower.
Although being headquartered in Nevada has helped the company succeed, it also has become an invaluable part of the local economy, which is dominated by service industry jobs.
“Specialty Vehicles is a great company because it diversifies the local economy through the technical and manufacturing jobs that they offer. We love having a company that exports worldwide from Henderson,” said Cody Walker, economic development officer for Henderson.
As much as the family has succeeded, they admit it has not been easy. Their advice for any entrepreneur is to remain focused and never give up.
“There are so many roadblocks, taking the easier road is never the right thing to do. Tenacity always pays off,” Nancy Munoz said.
Contact Review-Journal writer Paulina Rojas at 702-383-0206. Follow her on Twitter: @gingaspice22.