Kitten Caboodle

Hot Wheels

Somewhere in the inland Northwest it's time for another car show, county fair, demolition derby or supermarket grand opening--and Larry Anderson's 32-foot Motorsports Connection display trailer is there, selling racetrack collectibles, hats, jackets, T-shirts and die-cast cars from NASCAR's main division, the Winston Cup.

An amateur racer, Anderson started his entrepreneurial engines in the winter of 1996 and found customer response so overwhelming that by the spring of 1997, he was able to quit his sales job to devote full attention to his new venture.

Anderson, who targets small towns, knew there was an unfilled niche: Race merchandise is normally available only at big events in large cities. "We pull into little towns with these big trailers and open the door, and [the racing fans] think it's quite cool," says Anderson, who expects to do a cool quarter-million dollars in sales this year.

Among others, Anderson is quick to credit his childhood buddy, Dave Beaudoin, who runs a similar business, with helping him launch Motorsports Connection.

From preschool days as next-door neighbors to successful entrepreneurs, Anderson and Beaudoin regularly tour their complementary businesses together and set up shop side by side. With his company in high gear, Anderson says his hobby-driven instincts put him in the right place at the right time. "The excitement was there from the first time we set up," he says. "People always say, `It's about time somebody did this!' "

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This article was originally published in the July 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Kitten Caboodle.

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