Racing Electronics started off as a mail-order business, until about 1990 when Silver had merchandise carted to the various race tracks. Before long he realized it was time to leave New Jersey and set up shop in Concord, in the heart of NASCAR country.
"Having the business located in Concord is probably the best thing we've ever done for this company," Silver said. "We were very disconnected being up in New Jersey and the connection of being here and the easy access of the teams -- being able to walk right into our show room and our shop, come into our ear mold lab and have their ear impressions taken, it's just been very rewarding to the company."
GROWING BIGGER AND BETTER
Since forming Racing Electronics, Silver has watched the company grow. He declined to discuss sales or financial details, but he did say in the past 10 years the company has grown from about 40 employees to about 80.
The company's growth has gotten the attention of business leaders in the community, and Racing Electronics recently received the small business of the year award from the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce.
John Cox, president and CEO for the chamber, said Silver's work has been a benefit to the community.
"In many respects NASCAR is a universal language and many people speak it--and when they hear it on race day, it's usually through one of Bruce's headsets," Cox said.
"He is a true entrepreneur in that he created this industry from a dream and availed himself of Opportunity North Carolina Funds to hire some folks he otherwise couldn't have hired."
And Silver is about to add at least five more jobs by the end of the year. He had two companies in China who were under contract to produce the headsets. But Silver has taken the equipment out of one location and plans to be in full production by the end of 2012, making a line of headsets here.
Racing Electronics is located on 18,000-square-foot piece of property and will grow even larger, with Silver looking for a manufacturing facility to move some of the production to.
"Our big focus now is to bring production back from China," Silver said. "Currently some parts come in from China and everything is assembled here. My goal is to dramatically reduce it and put American citizens back to work."
While Silver is watching his business grow thanks to race fans, he is also quick to point out his business does so well because all of his employees are also race fans themselves.
In fact, Silver is not just a race fan, but he often climbs behind the wheel of a race car himself. He started competing in the Legends Racing series in 2007 after two employees encouraged him to drive.
"And it only took one race," Silver said. "It only took one practice actually. Anyone who has ever driven in a race car and competed knows that it's not what it seems to be. It's a very addictive sport and it's more fun than anybody can imagine."
He runs in about 60 races a year in the Masters Division series, driving his #53 Racing Electronics 1934 Ford Legends car.
Some people might think a man could get burned out on being involved in the corporate end of racing as well as being a driver. But for Silver it's his "golf game," he said.
"When I get in my Legends car it's total focus on driving and performing," Silver said. "I don't think about business. I don't think about other daily trials and tribulations going on. It's about racing."
And Racing Electronics looks to be a part of NASCAR for some time to come.
"I'm a race fan," Silver said. "The people that are in this business are race fans. We like the competiveness of this. It's our lives."
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