Laodies Kustomz is a true minitrucker shop. Don’t believe it? Well, 90 percent of their clientele are mini owners. Sure, fullsize trucks and an assortment of other vehicles come to them for help, but the vast majority of Laodies’ dollars are earned from working on minitrucks. We spent some time with shop owner Von Chounlamany and picked his brain for a little information. Follow along and learn more about this little guy with the huge ideas.
Mini Truckin': So how do you pronounce your shop's name anyway?
Von: Since my family is from Laos, my friends used to call my brother Jason and I “Laodies,” so that's where the name came from.
So how did you end up owning your own shop?
My dad and uncle were always into working on and fixing cars, so I've been around vehicles all my life. After looking through Mini Truckin' magazines back in junior high school, I've been hooked on minis ever since. My dad had bought me an '86 Toyota 4WD even before I had my license. We ended up lifting that one, but afterward I wanted something lower, so I traded my dad for his 2WD '84 Toyota and I ended up dropping that one. I showed the truck for years, meeting great people and friends at shows. Soon, people would come over to my parents' house so my brother and I could tinker with their cars and trucks. That two-car garage is really where the shop began.
MT: How long has the shop been up and running?
Von: We've been at the new location for 8 years now, but we've been working as a shop for over 15 years now.
MT: How many employees do you currently have?
Von: It's just me and my brother, but our friends are good about coming to help out when we really need it.
What does Laodies Kustomz specialize in?
Air ride, bodydrops, full frame builds, and metal fabrication.
MT: Not to sound too much like a bad first date conversation, but what are your turn-offs?
Von: People thinking they're better than others and not willing to help out their fellow man.
MT: What about your turn-ons?
Von: Anything and everything related to minitruckin'!
On a personal level, what got you mixed up with minitrucks?
In the spring of '96 my brother and I drove out to St. Louis for the Beyond Reality show. We met Courtney Halowell for the first time there. He liked my truck and selected it for the Mini Truckin' Editor's Choice Award at that show. The 5-foot trophy wouldn't even fit in my truck without it being disassembled. That was the first time my truck made show coverage in MT too. Courtney had asked me if I was going to hit the Street Machine Nationals, which was a few weeks afterward, so we ended up meeting him at that show too. Ever since then, I have been completely into minis and I thank Courtney for that.
MT: Anything else you'd like our readers to know?
Von: I would really like to take this time to thank our parents. They brought my sister and me to the United States when I was only two years old. They didn't have any money and worked their asses off for our family. Thanks to them, I'm living the American dream.