Brian C. Bach’s passion for all things NASCAR came gift-wrapped with his DNA. His father, a photographer, freelanced for the Los Angeles Times and covered NASCAR and Indy races at speedways in Ontario and Riverside. His mother worked for a doctor that treated Indy drivers racing at the Ontario Speedway. Bach’s favorite toys as a child: Hot Wheels, of course.
It’s only fitting that nearly every professional experience he’s had as anadult has revolved around racecars and other automobiles. First there was FunN Crunchy, an ice cream truck business that doubled as a “beer cart” when theGrateful Dead came through town for concerts in the 1990s. He volunteered asa junior mechanic as part of a pit crew for an open-wheel road race team andthen used the knowledge gained from that experience to take home the championshipat a local dirt track. He also worked as a car salesman.
But in 2001, tired of “working for the man,” Bach decided to turn his love of NASCAR into a full-time job. That essentially marked the beginning of a “racy” retail venture co-owned and operated by Bach and business partner Cory J. Churchill.
“I used to spend what seemed like 24 hours a day on my side business selling NASCAR stuff to collectors,” Bach recalls. “Selling cars [at a car lot] was not very exciting, and I was making more money selling NASCAR stuff on the side than I was selling real cars. So in December 2000, I first said to Cory, ‘Let’s open our own NASCAR c-stores.’ It took us about three months to get going, and we opened our first store in July 2001.”
Bach and Churchill now co-own two More of Everything convenience and NASCAR stores in Eugene, OR. True entrepreneurs, they have been able to maintain ties to several other business venturesand in some cases marry them together. Bach uses More of Everything to promote custommodel services, for example. Churchill, meanwhile, operates a Buick dealership apart from the convenience-retailing venture.
But the road to retail was not an easy one to follow, especially in the early going. Two months after Bach and Churchill unveiled their first store at the Valley River Center in Eugene, terrorists struck along the East Coast. Business ground to a halt, according to Bach. Regional economic woes complicated matters for the new business owners; at the time, Oregon had the highest unemployment rate in the nation.
The company has since recovered, growing to two stores in different area malls. A third store is currently in development; Bach says he and Churchill are considering a standalone “off-mall” location, a strategy he thinks will provide them with a little more flexibility.
“We’re looking outside the malls for our next idea,” says Bach. “We’re looking for a less structured model, since right now the mall has to approve everything we sell.”
Presently, More of Everything sells, well, everything from cigarettesand packaged beverages to snacks and lottery tickets. Most transactions comefrom a “captive” group of mall employees working for other retailers at theValley River Center, but a second inline location at Gateway Mall caters moreto customers shopping neighboring stores. The second store is located in anold cookie store, featuring 800 sq. ft. with no “walk-in” traffic; all itemsare merchandised in cases, meaning it’s a full-service location. Both storescapture a number of customers who view More of Everything as destinations forunique items.
“We’ve had people from southern Oregon and the coast come here,” Bach says. “We have a captive audience in the mall, plus the NASCAR fans come to the mall, so it’s a mix of captive traffic and drawnin traffic. Plus, we’re the first ones in the area to get new things. We used to have a request list that was two pages long, but now we have no list because we’ve got everything covered.”
More of Everything stores were the first in all of Eugene to sell Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, for example. But the retailer’s tactics in procuring these hot new items fall under the umbrella “guerilla marketing” in Webster’s.
“One Krispy Kreme store opened in Portland, which is an hour and a half drivefrom here each way,” Bach says. “We would get 75 boxes and sell out; we hadlines well out the door. We would make midnight runs to Krispy Kreme. Then everyonecopied us and started doing the same thing. The Atkins craze followed, and thatwas the end of that ride.”
While convenience items and specialty items like hot doughnuts make up the majority of More of Everything’s transactions, NASCARbranded merchandise and other general-merchandise items remain the stores’ collective backbone. With NASCAR still a developing sport in the Pacific Northwest, Bach procures most of the merchandise from wholesale dealers in the NASCAR-fanatical South. He also beats competing retailers to the punch with exclusive items that will appeal to locals, such as those featuring the University of Oregon’s Duck mascot.
“We had 7,000 University of Oregon Duck diecast cars made with our logo on them, and so far we’ve sold 5,000 of them since they’ve come out a year and a half ago,” Bach says. “With the universities, if you don’t ask you don’t get. So I just kept bugging them to work with me.”
He also brought in bobbleheads made in the likeness of Joey Harrington, star quarterback for the NFL’s Detroit Lions, who just so happens to be a U of O alumnus. More of Everything was the sole retailer in town selling the “bobs,” and when the stores sold out, Bach spent hours on the phone with wholesalers throughout the Lower 48as well as those in Hawaii and Canadato bring in more.
In addition to selling bobbleheads and NASCAR merchandise in its stores, More of Everything does some Internet sales through eBay, and also develops custom orders of miniature vehicles. Recently the company sold 40 custom trucks to a local Mexican food chain at $20 each. For now, Bach intends to grow the nascent business through word of mouth.
“Both malls just renewed our leases, and we are always looking for locationsto expand,” says Bach. “Our lottery customers have grown and become very loyal,and NASCAR is building a track in the Northwest, which will greatly increaseour customer base and fan following. So as long as there are college sportsfans, race fans, gamblers and hungry people, we should continue to grow.”