Spotlight on a “Hands On” Success Story
by Christine Davis, Marketing Director
Carrie Miller-Weimer, at the young age of 17 realized how much of a “hands on” person she was during her studies at West Valley College in 1990. While attending classes, she had an opportunity to participate in an automotive trade show − and fell in love with a plotter! Yes, that engaging day with a plotting machine steered her career down the road of signs, banners and decaling cars. A business she founded in 1996. Today, Carrie is the sole proprietor of Millers Vinyl Graphics located in Suite 123 within Club Auto Sport. I recently had the opportunity to interview Carrie. I found her story to be inspiring and incredibly touching, especially as we round the corner of celebrating Mother’s Day.
Not only is Carrie a full-time business women, but she is a wife and mother of three children. Taylor 23, Devon 19, and her youngest, Jameson 2, who literally has been raised in her business here at Club Auto Sport. We’ve all enjoyed watching him learn to walk, and now run down the drive aisles. Laughing and entertaining us all, as he pedals his adorable little red car. Carrie manages to balance a great family life, by always looking for more time − “quality time” − for work and play.
“I’ve got 168 hours in a week and they’re all full.”
She has always had an interest in racing cars and trucks as a hobby, and her ties with John Davis (managing partner of Club Auto Sport) go as far back as 1998. When Carrie went to see his fleet of Air Systems trucks that needed decals. Little did she know, John was the mechanic under the hood of a race car – it was then that their business relationship started. Carrie regards John and Air Systems, as well as Mark Murray of Excel as two of her mentoring customers that immensely influenced her business’ direction. At that time, taking a job to Carrie meant going to her home where she kept the plotter in the living room. I too have personally been a customer of Millers since 1998, when she agreed to donate signs and decaling services for the annual Air Systems Car Show fundraiser. She found giving back by donating to local charities and car clubs enhanced her customer base. One job led to the next for many of her now, long term customers. Her work space expanded from living room to the extra bedroom, and then into their detached garage. For a women to get a gear-head husband to give up his garage space, is truly a feat in itself. Carrie grew the business with her artistic talents, willingness to work long hard hours, juggling kids and family and with the help of her mother’s organizational assistance.
Some of the many strengths of Millers’ business is her mainstream client base, consisting of local vehicle dealers, individuals, business office and retail displays. Carrie shines with distinguishing features in her business, considering the fact that she designs and manufactures 99% of the products Millers delivers. She loves the variety of her jobs, and never gets bored! What little spare time she has is spent on family outings to the races, the beach or riding trains – the 2 year old’s favorite vehicle “Choo-Choo”!
In 2009, Carrie began to look for larger space for her growing demand. After contacting a racing friend Ralph Borelli, she discovered Club Auto Sport. What she called a “landmark building”. Her first impression was that of a normal aspiring female − I want it, but I don’t think I can afford it. Ralph told her “let’s make it work” – and they did. Millers Vinyl Graphics moved under the Club Auto Sport roof in July of 2009 and her business has taken on a new life. Carrie now works side-by-side with her father Mike Drysdale. Both have their hands in the daily business with some extremely creative car wrapping that goes on outside their roll-up doors. Design – Production – Installation.
“My customers love being able to drive into Club Auto Sport and right up next to my business door. It’s totally hot or cold weather neutral, and I feel all the comforts of home with family and neighbors. It gives me and my customers an atmosphere of a mall or car museum, and the business world is at my fingertips.”
Headed for a record year, she claims her sales in 2014 thus far, have exceeded our total gross sales for 2007. Carrie is really excited about the possibilities that look bright for her to eventually purchase her own condo here. Using her instincts and “hands on” work ethics, encourages her to continue to develop, at the right pace. She knows the right speed for her product and her family. The use of new technology has allowed her to expand service products in areas of rally stripes, banners, job site signs, foam core displays, clothing and embroidery logo wear. And Carrie has truly found her niche with a significant market share of exotic car wraps, and vintage race car graphics.
“My customers are happy with the end product!”