Twelve miles west of Philadelphia, in Media, Pennsylvania is Brad Fab Industries' small, tucked-away shop space. The building is just big enough to house two handfuls of projects, a second story office/loft space, and a few “someday” projects out in the back. There isn't one square foot of space that isn't taken up by machinery, tools and parts, or trucks, but when walking through there isn't a strangling, cramped feeling.
Brad Fab is a young, wall-to-wall fabrication enterprise that has vowed to keep both quality and customer at the top of their priority list. And with the army of trucks already brandishing Brad Fab craftsmanship, and the waiting list of trucks just itching to get theirs, it's obvious that this talented group of guys are doing something right. Continue reading as we chat with shop owner Steve Bradley and in-house pinstripe artist Mike “Hoff” Grosso about the beginnings and future of Brad Fab Industries.
Mini Truckin': Hey, Steve! Thanks for the awesome tour. So how did you get into the fabrication game?
Steve: I got into it the day I walked into a shop and asked for a custom rollcage to be built for my car. The guy there told me he didn't know how to build one from scratch, but that he could weld in a pre-made cage. I walked out of there knowing that I had to be the one who could give people the chance to have one-of-a-kind fabricated work. I looked into welding classes, signed up, and really learned the trade while working at a hotel in Philly. I continued to teach myself for a year-and-a-half, and then landed a job building stainless tanker trailers.
MT: That's pretty cool. So when did you start working on vehicles?
Steve: I built a fuel cell for a friend who was bodydropping his Sonoma, which is still driving around today. I built the cell in my friend's shop, and we soon became business partners. My skills and ideas were starting to progress into what I am building today. This was just the start of the madness.
MT: How much time passed before you decided to open your own shop?
Steve: Well, that business relationship lasted 4-5 years before I went out on my own. I've been building custom vehicles since 1997, and have been welding and fabricating for 8 years now, but Brad Fab Industries was finally founded in February 2011.
MT: Surely being your own boss was worth the wait but what was your biggest fear going into it?
Steve: My worst fear when I started this shop was whether I would be able to bring in enough business just to keep the electricity on to run the welders.
MT: Seems like you guys are doing a great job so far. So, this shop is your first location, correct? Have you thought about expanding where you're at now?
Steve: Yep, this is our first and only place of business. We are looking into expanding not only our shop but the office as well. Hopefully, we can work in a storefront, too.
MT: Damn, that would be cool! But one cool thing about your shop now is the upstairs loft area that has been taken over by pinstriper Mike Grosso, known to many as the “Hoff.” By looking at the projects in the building, you guys do a lot of collaboration work together. Must be nice having a painter in the building.
Steve: Having a painter in-house is great. Hoff has done work on quite a few of our projects as well as decorating the office with all of his own artwork.