Lots of people ask me everyday how I got into this business of making 4x4 parts? My answer is pretty easy, I had bought a '73 landcruiser and tried to find parts for the modifications I wanted. They were simply not made to the standards I desired and the Customer Service was pitiful, it was as if they were doing me a favor by overcharging me for things I could do better, so I resurected Ruffstuff Specialties.
I know, resurected Ruffstuff from what? In 1980 I had just gotten out of the army and was going to college at NAU in Flagstaff Arizona and in a small way mountain biking was just starting up. I had some experience with a torch and started Ruffstuff Specialties building Mountain Bike Framesets. I wasn't Tom Ritchey but Ruffstuff was in the first wave. We built 17 framesets over 2 years and I was still a student so I was essentially starving. I closed Ruffstuff afer 2 years and 2 years later the Stumpjumper came out and that was all she wrote! I was already a River Guide in the Grand Canyon and wasn't about to walk away from that so I didn't go back to starving.
When we started building 4X4 Fabrication parts we were a wholesale only shop serving about 40 4X4 shops within 100 miles. I developed our product line directly from those shops input so we didn't start with hit or miss stuff, it was tried and tested long before we ever opened for retail. Infact, I was fairly satisfied with a partime wholesale only business but things happened and we took that first step. The 2 main things were that a group of the companies I supplied got together and asked me to go retail for name recognition so they could better sell our parts. The other thing was my job moving to Chicago. Happenning at the same time tied it all together and it just made sense.
As we grew we have taken great pains to stay true to our origins, we have never settled for "Strong Enough" and do not intend to ever take that route. We have never been afraid to try new ideas and we have never rushed an untested item to market. Lastly, and this is a big one to me. We do not use YOUR money (Pre-Orders) to fund OUR R&D, how often that happens in this business simply amazes me. In business there is something called Risk & Reward. If I spend my money I am entitled to a fair profit, if I spend your money to develop a product I am entitled to nothing, I never took the risk.