The best way to succeed in life is to find something you love and then find a way to get someone to pay you for doing it. Well, Jim and Joyce Powers of Glen Rock, New Jersey did just that when they formed Extreme Toys – an online company that builds and sells toy trucks. Turning a hobby into a career is not easy, but this dynamic duo is doing exactly that as they get ready to celebrate their 10th year in business. Working together, this husband-and-wife team both come from trucking backgrounds, so both of them have trucks in their blood.
Jim (41) has been drawing pictures of trucks since he was a kid, and then began collecting miniature replica trucks seriously in high school. The only thing he ever said he wanted to do was drive a truck. Lucky for him his uncle owned a towing company – in fact, both his uncle and grandfather were towing operators. As soon as Jim was old enough to drive he started learning how to tow. Years later, he found himself working at a local towing company, Nick’s Towing Service. While there, he met the owner’s daughter, Joyce, and a courtship began. They were married in 2001. After towing some of the biggest rigs in the tri-state area for almost 20 years, Jim left the company in 2004 and started selling towing equipment for Miller Industries. Today, he sells tow trucks at Elizabeth Truck Center in Elizabeth, NJ.
Joyce’s father has been in the towing and trucking business for 35+ years and, despite that, Joyce knew very little about the industry until she took a summer job working in the office after college. After eight years of helping run Nick’s Towing with her family, and even a term as the President of the Garden State Towing Association, Joyce “retired” to raise their now 8-year-old daughter.
Wanting to start a little online side-business centered on Jim’s love of toy trucks, Extreme Toys LLC was established in 2004. “Originally, it was supposed to be a part-time venture, with one of Jim’s friends, going to some local truck shows,” Joyce recounts. “Next thing I knew, I was involved and Jim and I had gone to 20 different truck shows in about eight months!” Over the past ten years or so, they have attended and/or exhibited at numerous truck shows across the country and built a loyal fan (and customer) base. And, with the internet making it easy for people to access their website from anywhere in the world, their little operation has truly become a global venture. “The draw is the joy people get from collecting miniature replica trucks, whether they are young or just young at heart,” says Joyce.
“We sell a number of different truck lines appropriate for ages 3 to 103,” says Joyce, who serves as the company’s vice president. “Bruder Toys is a line we sell that is great for the little ones. They are the closest to the old Tonka trucks many of us grew up playing with as kids. They are 1/16 scale and great for indoor or outdoor play. Die Cast Promotions is another of our most popular lines. It is a 1/64 scale, and they are true collector replicas for the shelf and to be enjoyed by adults. We also carry New Ray, Jada, Boley, Matchbox, Mattel, Ravensburger, Tonkin and Norscot.”
In the last five years, a big focus has been on producing their own runs of custom trucks through both Die Cast Promotions and Tonkin Replicas. “I have always enjoyed customizing the 1/32 scale trucks, but making die cast replicas through these companies is really unique because we can create something right from the ground up,” says Jim. “Don’t be fooled though,” says Joyce, “Jim still loves coming up with new ways of customizing the trucks, and it is so much fun to see his excitement when he comes up with a new modification to make a stock truck look like a show truck.”
In addition to the custom show trucks, they can also make replicas of your trucks, with your company logo on them, which make great incentive items and gifts for both drivers and customers. “Companies hire us to make replicas of their trucks and sometimes we approach a company if it is a show truck Jim loves and knows will be a popular model,” Joyce explains. “The process of making a truck takes approximately five months. We also work with a gentleman who does custom paint and decal work for one-offs (people who want to have one toy made to replicate their truck). To do this, we just need to have the make and model of truck available in toy form to start.”
With hundreds of trucks, trailers and accessories available on their site, there is something there for everyone. In addition to several sizes and styles of Peterbilt, Kenworth, International, Freightliner, Mack and Volvo trucks, in both bobtail and combo configurations with different sizes of cabs and sleepers, you can also find dump trucks, straight trucks, tow trucks, car carriers, log trucks and more. There are also various trailers to choose from including end dumps, flatbeds, dry vans, low-boys, bottom dumps, reefers, side tippers, cattle pots, grain trailers, walking floors, tankers, and a host of others (you can buy tractors only, trailers only, or combinations of both).
The website also sells construction equipment, emergency vehicles, everyday vehicles, remote-controlled trucks, and a bunch of other stuff. And if customizing is your thing, they also offer a bevy of accessories including bumpers, fenders, headache racks, exhaust pipes, and even different types of “loads” to put on your trailers. If you enjoy toy trucks, you will definitely love their website, because it has it all – and with the convenience of being able to shop online at home (or wherever), coupled with very affordable shipping rates, you might not ever want to step foot inside a hobby store again.
While the couple enjoys selling the replica trucks, Joyce says they get more enjoyment from the relationships they have created with the truck collectors. Attending the shows, they have met a lot of great people, and even the ones they have never met (online customers) feel like good friends, too. Building personal relationships with their customers, Jim has made trucks for funerals to be buried with loved ones, as well as special trucks to celebrate the birth of a new baby. This company has truly become a labor love for both Jim and Joyce.
Jim and Joyce Powers have always loved working together and with the toys it just brings it to a new level because they are dealing with something Jim is so passionate about. “I took something that I loved, toy trucks, and with a lot of hard work made it a business,” says Jim. They say if you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life, and when you mix passion with that love, you get a marriage made in heaven. Whether you are just a simple toy truck fan or an avid collector, we encourage you to visit www.extremecustomtoys.com today and check out everything they have to offer. You will not be disappointed!