Mesa off-road vehicle firm aims for more growth - East Valley Tribune: Business

Mesa off-road vehicle firm aims for more growth

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Posted: Monday, July 16, 2007 3:50 am | Updated: 5:51 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

A four-year-old Mesa company is riding a surge in the popularity of offroad motoring to rev up sales.

DragonFire Racing LLC has moved from northeast Mesa to new headquarters at 2330 W. Broadway Road in the Broadway-Loop 101 office park, providing the company with more room for its offices, showroom and repair and modification workshop.

“The last two years have just been phenomenal,” said Paul Cummins, manager of the Mesa store. “We were outgrowing our last facility and wanted a more central location to serve our customers.”

Much of the growth is being driven by the introduction of new utility terrain vehicles, or UTVs, by such companies as Yamaha, Kawasaki, Polaris and Arctic Cat, he said.

DragonFire makes and distributes aftermarket accessories for those vehicles such as heavy-duty suspensions, steering wheels, seats, cages, bumpers and other parts for the off-road recreation enthusiast who wants to upgrade his vehicle. The company will even install stereo systems for those who want music blasting away while they roar across the country. DragonFire also makes engines and other modifications for customers who want to race their vehicles. The company’s slogan, “From Muscle to Mayhem,” pretty much describes its operating philosophy. “We build them bigger and stronger,” Cummins said.

Founder and owner Todd Romano, 37, is a race driver himself, a fact that he said contributes to his company’s sales because he can boast that DragonFire’s products are race-proven. A regular on Baja off-road races, he plans to participate next year in the Lisbon-to-Dakar race across the Sahara Desert, the world’s longest power-sport race.

“We’re one of the few companies that both builds and races,” Romano said. “What we build all week, we race on Sunday.”

But most of the firm’s business is with recreation drivers.

“What we build, anyone can drive,” he said. “The wife, a teenager and grandfather can get in the vehicle and go. No special skill set is required.”

Cummins added that “it’s the most fun you can have at 35 to 40 miles per hour.”

Locally, miles of marked trails are available for UTV recreation drivers in the Four Peaks and Lake Pleasant areas, Cummins said. Sand dunes in the Yuma and Blythe, Calif. areas also are popular, he said.

DragonFire, which has nine employees, operates retail stores in Mesa, north Phoenix, Lake Havasu and San Diego. Also the company distributes its parts through a network of about 3,000 dealers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Romano, who has more than 18 years of experience in the off-road vehicle industry, said his focus is to build his sales through dealerships.

“Our goal is to keep building better and more exciting products for customers and continue to grow our dealer business,” he said.

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