It isn't often you'll find a company that gets much of its inventory from the misfortune of others.
"If we don't have it, you haven't lost it" is the motto at Hub Cap Boyz, 1767 S. State, and refers to the owner, Tim Galvin, relying on potholes that shake loose a person's hubcaps so he can pick them up for resale.In addition to picking up lost hubcaps from city streets, Galvin has a contract with Utah Department of Transportation employees who pick up the stray wheel covers and get paid 50 cents each for everyone that Galvin can resell.
Once, when Galvin was returning to Salt Lake City after seeing relatives in Indianapolis, he picked up hundreds of hubcaps for his business.
Relying on potholes to jar loose the hubcaps is only part of his relatively new business because he has 250 sets of new hubcaps, wheels, trim rings and those small centerpieces for wheels. He also is getting into selling cleaners, polishes, baby moon hubcaps, license plate frames and bug guards.
All of this wouldn't have been possible without a $10,000 loan from the Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund - money that he has used to fix up an old building that formerly housed a sewing machine repair business, purchase inventory and do some advertising.
The fund was formed several years ago by contributions from several financial institutions to help new businesses owned by socially or economically disadvantaged people who cannot get financing from traditional sources. Galvin said he tried to get a loan from banks, but they couldn't bother with small amounts.
Originally, Galvin requested a loan from the fund for a gumball machine business, but when that didn't work out he changed the business plan and the fund's loan committee liked what it saw.
Galvin is an Indiana native but came to Salt Lake City when he was 3 years old since his father wanted to get away from violence and gangs. The family moved back to Indiana, but Galvin returned to Salt Lake City in 1986 and graduated from South High in 1987.
He attended Salt Lake Community College for one year, got a job as a teller at First Security Bank and also worked for DHK Airways for more than three years. He started a car detailing shop at 2220 S. 300 East called Auto Elegance, but after one year the man who owned the building sold it and Galvin couldn't afford to pay what the new owner was asking.
He did automobile detail work for a car lot and paid his rent by doing some detail work for the owner. A short time later he worked for Feature Films for Families and later for Airborne Express.
Galvin met a neighbor who knew about the hubcap business and they also got interested in the gumball machine business. He applied for a loan from the fund to start a gumball business but went to Indiana to see if that state could use a gumball company.
Things didn't work out for Galvin, so he changed his business plan and got the loan for the hubcap business instead in December 1997. He opened his shop in January 1998.