The Matus family is known for its good results in racing.
But as far as its business enterprise goes, it is nowhere in close proximity to the finish line.
Matus Company in Wampum is celebrating its 75th year, with 3rd- and fourth-generation father and son Brent and Brandon Matus now operating the exhibit. From the avenue, it appears to be just an vehicle repair service shop, but it not only serves as a hub for the family’s racing functions as well, it also homes, it also sells areas and does repairs for other neighborhood race teams, not to point out repairing just about nearly anything else that requirements to be repaired.
“We do automobile mend — the common stuff,” Brent explained. “We really don’t do engines, transmission changes, factors like that. We do a lot of welding, fabrication, repairs, things like that for folks. They crack a lawn chair or if they crack the frame on their motor vehicle, we can weld that for them.
“We do a large amount of repairs in the racing earth, far too, for teams, and we promote race car or truck elements. So we’ve obtained a large amount of diverse avenues we do right here. (The indicator) just says Matus Company, because which is what we do. We maintenance everything.”
The business enterprise was started off by Brent’s grandfather, John, whose loved ones emigrated to the U.S. from Russia and settled in the Pittsburgh space.
“They had been into coal-mining perform, but he constantly preferred to work on autos,” Brent explained. “That was his specialized niche. Inevitably, he achieved my grandmother — she was from West Pittsburg — and they settled in this area. He built this garage, which then was just the office and two bays.”
The organization was initially a gasoline station, Brent recalled, marketing at a variety of occasions, Cell, Quaker State, Keystone and Amoco. The plug was pulled on the pumps in 2000.
Together the way, Brent’s grandfather started to make race autos and received into the sport. He expanded the building to accommodate his newfound curiosity.
Brent’s father, Jerry, worked with his father at the store and took it around upon the elder Matus’ demise. He fairly virtually spent the rest of his everyday living there.
“My dad was listed here considering that he was like nine years previous until eventually he was 81 years old,” Brent claimed. “He passed absent final 12 months. He labored right here basically until eventually the very previous working day.
“He bought up from crafting an inspection sticker and said he did not truly feel good. He went home, and that was it.”
A signal outside the house the building across the road from the support store suggests that it is residence to Matus Vehicle Gross sales, but Brent mentioned that that was extra his dad’s issue.
“He bought a good deal of utilized cars and trucks and stuff,” Brent stated. “I haven’t been, for the reason that we’ve been so busy at the store. If we get a motor vehicle in when in a even though, we’ll send it more than there to offer. But I’m not out shopping for cars at the auction and things.
“I never want to provide a vehicle to somebody, and then it breaks down. I would feel lousy. So I consider not to expend much too considerably time with the car profits. We’re concentrating on the restore facet.”
RACE Business enterprise
For the Matuses, the mend aspect features their velocity shop, which does chassis repairs and welding for other regional race groups.
Brent still races himself, as did his father — a 3-time observe winner at Lernerville — and his 28-year-aged son, Brandon, a 2021 track champ at Tri-Metropolis Speedway near Franklin and runner-up — by a solitary stage — at Lernerville.
Continue to, at age 52, Brent has begun transitioning away from the monitor and sees himself as additional of a mentor in the pace store.
“The older I get, I’m far more of a mentor to the youthful young ones coming in, and I check out to convey to them what to invest in, what not to purchase. Really do not squander your income on specific bells and whistles, factors that you do not truly have to have.
“I get satisfaction out of that, far too, looking at these youthful fellas occur through. There’s a whole lot of very good talent out there currently. These children with their mobile phones, their hand-eye coordination is a great deal better now than us rising up with Atari. They are pretty competent. What we have received to do now is get them off their cell phones while we’re at function.”
Maintaining ON Maintaining ON
Even though his father ongoing to function, Brent took more than the organization in 1998. Inevitably, Brandon joined the workforce as properly, and whilst Jerry managed the paperwork and state inspections, Brent and Brandon divided up the rest of the operate.
“Since we missing (Jerry), we’re actually managing wild,” Brent mentioned. “You miss out on a person person that you by means of didn’t do very much, but he did ample. I instructed Brandon he’d far better hurry up and have some little ones because I’m not likely to be in this article endlessly.”
Neither Brent nor Brandon needs to be the a single under whom the loved ones business closes, despite the fact that Brent concedes that it could have been him,
“I often wished to do anything else,” he claimed of his younger days. “When I was younger, I was into the welding discipline and a tiny little bit of fabrication function,” he said. “Then I imagined I preferred to be a qualified race car or truck driver. I did that a small whilst by myself, and I went out with my crew.”
Brent owned his have crew, ran his have demonstrate, bought his personal sponsors. He and his dash motor vehicle crew traveled, ran some races on both equally the Outlaws and the All-Stars circuits, but that lifetime turned out to be a whole lot less glamourous than it appeared from a distance.
“It’s a pretty difficult way to make a living really risky,” he mentioned. “I constantly mentioned racing is the toughest business enterprise to run. If you can learn how to run a race staff and income from it, the rest of life is quite easy.
“But the business part of it is tough. It’s really hard to demonstrate a earnings in racing, because you are shelling out so significantly cash, it’s insane. So you have received to minimize corners and run it like every thing else.”
Eventually, Brent remaining experienced racing in the rearview mirror, got married and went to function with his father.
“This was a very steady get the job done place you could make a living,” he explained. “That’s what my dad always informed me: ‘You could in no way get rich, but you’ll always make a residing.’ ”
WHAT LIES Forward
Neither Brent nor Brandon likes the concept of currently being the Matus under whom the longtime relatives business enterprise comes to a shut.
“You hear about that all the time — someone leaves the business enterprise to their child, and they operate it into the ground,” Brandon stated. “I don’t imagine I would do that. I have a quite good business ethic and frame of mind. I imagine I could retain it afloat if I had far too.”
Nevertheless, he explained, points are not obtaining any much easier.
Ideal now, the store is busier than ever, he went on. Section of that is due to the demise of his grandfather, which has left only Brandon and Brent to run what formerly was a 3-particular person procedure. He also thinks that less persons are seeking to work now, which boosts the workload for firms that stay open.
What’s more, vehicles by themselves are transforming.
“It’s a excellent trade,” he explained, “but year by calendar year, the car or truck brands look to press men like us out. They just make the automobiles more durable to operate on it is all computerized. I would in all probability do it forever, but I never know if I’ll be authorized to do that (because of the advancing computerization).
“I guess we’ll just see what transpires. I’m positive this spot will be right here as extended as I’m listed here, but we may possibly not generally get the job done on vehicles. We could get moer into the fabrication get the job done or race motor vehicle side of it. I’m not picky. I like undertaking arms-on matters. As extended as I’m occupied, I’m pleased.”
As for Brent, he may not get the job done at the organization right until his dying working day, but he’s not scheduling on going everywhere whenever quickly.
“I could see myself doing the job until I’m 80,” he stated. “I really do not consider I’ll work really hard, but I just can’t stand to just sit at household. I have to be on the transfer all the time. I could be in the racing game as a car proprietor or a thing like that.
“I delight in coming in and doing odd work opportunities now, like the fabrication element and fixing some thing that no one else can take care of. We’re commonly the previous a person to see some thing — when nobody else can deal with it, it will come in this article.”