When you are the owner of a small business, every penny counts from how it's saved to how it's spent. Finding ways to keep the doors open can be a full-time job on its own. You take the time to place ads in local papers, maybe offer some coupons, and the work is still not flowing in like you want and need it to. What do you do? You have to change your approach and try to see things the way your customer does. We once heard a motorcycle wheel company say that, "You could have the coolest set of wheels in the industry, but if they are not on a bike to be seen then your customer had no idea how they look on his bike."
This is just what David Lopez, aka "Koe," was thinking when he wanted to show off the skills of his shop called Fresno Customs & Collision (FCC) in Fresno, California. Some of David's earliest memories are of his uncle Steve Martinez's auto body and paint shop. One memory is of a '66 Caprice Classic that his uncle had just finished painting. It was a rich oriental candy blue with lots of graphics and tons of flake. This was the paintjob that David would want to reproduce one day if the right project came along. At the age of 16 David started working at his uncle's shop on the weekends and after school. While working with his uncle for a number of years, he learned most of his custom painting skills and also was taught how to pay very close attention to the finer details. From there David took his creative skills to the next level, even getting more work at a hot rod restoration shop. Then about five years ago the owner of the hot rod shop was getting ready to retire so David and his co-worker, Robert Martinez, decided to join together and buy the business.
Ever since the start of FCC they have been improving and expanding their business by putting customer satisfaction ahead of everything. When a guy walks into the shop with a custom job or a crazy request, FCC wants the customer to feel that no job is too big, too small, or impossible to get done. As jobs for show cars started pouring through the door, and the awards and trophies followed, David and Robert knew they were on a roll. However, with every custom paintjob that left the shop, still in the back of David's mind was that blue '66 Caprice.
On the other side of the family it was David's other uncle, Jeff Martinez, who introduced him to motorcycles and the lifestyle that comes with it. Uncle Jeff was not just a rider, he was a mechanic who worked on his own bikes. Over the years David would spend endless hours with him at his home, just watching Uncle Jeff work on bike after bike helping and learning. There wasn't anything he couldn't fix. All that time spent around Harleys pushed David to start working and customizing motorcycles. The day eventually came when David wanted his own bike, and he called on Uncle Jeff to help him find it and fix it up the Fresno way. Unfortunately that never got to happen-Uncle Jeff passed away before the two could build a bike together. David's love for bikes grew even more.
Uncle Jeff was an old school kind of guy, and he taught David to love old school things. David started looking for the kind of bike he thought was old school like the Shovelhead. However, one day his good friend, Steven "Big Worm" Cordova, pulled up with a new '07 Road King, complete with stereo bumping and a 21-inch twisted spoke front wheel wrapped with a whitewall tire. David was in love with the Worm's bike. Sadly Big Worm passed away shortly after that weekend. David still didn't know what kind of bike he wanted: an old school Shovelhead or a new Bagger? Still looking at Shovelheads, another friend told David about an '80 FLT for sale. David was told it's just like a Road King but has a Shovelhead motor in it.