Column: Race-Driven deepens investment in Delta County

ESCANABA — While news of the arrival of new business and investment to our area is always exciting, some of the strongest illustrations of economic development in our community come from expansion projects by our existing businesses. One of the best Delta County success stories comes from Race-Driven, Inc.

Race-Driven opened in 2007, starting from humble beginnings in a garage in Gladstone. Owner Brian Heiting had a vision of quality, affordable products that would allow riders to enjoy their machines without having to worry about costly replacement parts. Starting with only a few part numbers, Race-Driven grew quickly into a multi-line, multi-brand company that offers a continually growing 45,000 plus part numbers for various needs and applications. Over the years, with their dedication to quality parts and customer service, the Delta County based company has matured into an internationally-known brand in the powersports industry.

After rapidly outgrowing their original space, Brian and Christine Heiting looked for a building to house their increasing inventory and landed in the old Bavarian Bakery in Gladstone’s downtown district. Even then, unprecedented growth soon had them once again bursting at the seams and ready to open a physical retail location. The business moved to Stephenson Avenue in Escanaba. Race-Driven began introducing new lines, including Cyclone helmets and Road Dog and Back 40 apparel brands.

Their success was not unnoticed and in 2018 Race-Driven was awarded one of the “Top 50 Michigan Companies to Watch.” The award was well deserved because soon after Race-Driven expanded its capabilities to include powder coating and manufacturing at a new location on Danforth Rd.

Rather than taking their ‘foot off the gas,’ in spring 2019 Race-Driven announced its plans to open a powersports dealership on Ludington Street in Escanaba. The new location (open now), houses sales of new and used KTM and Polaris machines, a full-service department, inventory of OEM, aftermarket and Race-Driven parts.

Currently Race-Driven employs a team of 28 people, which continues to grow. Its most recent expansion to Ludington Street created 10 new jobs with plans to add an additional three to five jobs over the course of the next year.

I’m grateful to Race-Driven and to all Delta County small businesses for their investment in our community and I’m very excited to watch and support continued business expansion projects across the region.