Turn5 has gone into overdrive. The Malvern online retailer of custom car and truck parts and know-how is adding a string of new ventures:
"This is a whole different magnitude for us," Voudouris told me. When all three centers are up — scheduled for late October — "85 percent of our customers will be in a two-day delivery zone for us."
For Turn5, the Jeep gear is a departure from creating videos showing how new parts and variations can be bolted onto your buggy and filling buy orders, to hawking hats and coffee cups. Voudouris called that a natural extension of the brands: "We focus on marketing to enthusiasts. They'll buy parts, and they also want the shirt and the hat: 'Show 'em where your loyalty lies.'"
So what's with the "Taco" trucks, aka Toyota Tacomas, which are smaller than the Ford 150s, Rams and Silverados that Turn5 customizes on its American Trucks channel? "Tacoma sales are up 20 percent, year over year," says Voudouris. "They're popular to where Ford is bringing back its Ranger as a mid-sized truck. People are using them for 'overlanding' these three- and four-day off-road-truck-and-camping trips."
He recently took a group of Turn5 customer-service staff for a day at Rausch Creek Off-Road Park in Pine Grove, near Gettysburg, as a reward for three months of perfect attendance. "It was a blast." (Turn5 also added Dodge Challenger to its AmericanMuscle group last month.)
The new warehouse near Kansas City will employ up to 100, on top of Turn5's current 450 employees. About two-thirds of Turn5 workers are based in suburban Philadelphia, at the Malvern headquarters-studio-warehouse and a Pottstown call center, which the company plans to relocate to larger quarters. The firm is hiring engineers and marketers, Voudouris added.
Can Turn5 handle greater scale and complexity? The company has been adding veteran managers, including Nancy Adams, a Nutrisystem HR veteran, as "chief people officer," Voudouris said. "She's getting us more into training and education. So our employees have the skills to step up."
Where's the money for all this coming from? "We are accustomed to being profitable and reinvesting in the business," Voudouris said.
Turn5 is one of a string of homegrown online retailers that call the Philadelphia area home. Others include Qurate, John Malone's West Chester-based TV and mobile shopping group, which owns QVC, HSN and Zulily; Kynetic, Sixers owner Michael Rubin's retail investment group, which controls pro and college gear group Fanatics, and online shopping discount service RueLaLa/Gilt Group; Radial, which competes with Amazon to deliver retail client products; and Revzilla, which markets motorcycle gear, among other items.
Occasionally these emerging mid-market companies work together on community projects. Turn5, Revzilla, and Meet Group, the New Hope-based mobile-social-media company, are putting together a Kids' Tech Exploration Day on Oct. 13 for Philadelphia middle schoolers to visit the Radnor site and learn about "drones, video and game design, and 3-D printers," Voudouris said.