Toytec Leads The Way

Toytec Leads The Way

Get Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Magazine on the Google Play Store!Get Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Magazine on the App StoreIn a small garage in Lafayette, Colorado, an auto tech didn’t like the way the front end of his 1999 Toyota Tacoma sat with its Old Man Emu shocks. To fix this, he created a spacer. A few local guys in the off-road community noticed and wanted some of these spacers too. Little did this auto tech know that 15 years later, this spacer would be the product to launch what is known today as Toytec Lifts, one of the most trusted names in the off-road industry.


“We started selling them on eBay and then we made bigger spacers and started selling whole kits for the front and rear. We didn’t really plan on starting a business, it just kind of happened,” says Doug Gosh, the auto tech who created the famous spacer and founder / owner of Toytec Lifts as well as Toytec 4x4, the installation side of Toytec. 

“Originally, I was creating the spacers out of metal and I had a company that was cutting them for me and then I would weld them together. One of the machine shops I was dealing with said if we do these out of aluminum, we can make it all one piece, they’ll look a lot nicer, and be more corrosion resistant, and I wouldn’t have to weld them anymore. So, I thought, let’s do it!” 

Around 2005, Toytec became official ARB dealers, becoming ARB’s biggest retailers for Old Man Emu suspension in the Western Region. They were still working out of the house when they became ARB distributors with large semis delivering impressive loads of ARB products. “We literally had stacks of coil springs on the sidewalk for 20 feet,” Doug says with a laugh.

Doug’s wife, Sarah, was “Toytec” for the first couple of years—answering phones, taking orders, and making sure products were being delivered. “I was working at an independent shop in Lafayette and had a full-time job still,” recalls Doug. “Now, Sarah just does our payroll and some of the HR stuff but doesn’t have a lot to do with the business as much. She's not here full time anymore.” 

After a couple of years in Doug and Sarah’s home garage, Toytec moved into a rented building in Northglenn, Colorado. “It was just a 2,800 square-foot unit that we rented. We busted holes through the wall and rented the unit next to it.” The building was built in the early 1970s and the “space” eventually became a total of 9,000 square feet, but for Doug, it was a little run down and wasn’t in the most ideal location. When it was time to expand again, Toytec made the move to their current location, just over two years ago, to a 26,500 square-foot warehouse about 10 minutes north of downtown Denver. “It's actually bigger than we were originally looking for, but we just couldn’t find anything for the size we wanted so we figured, you know what, we’ll grow into this place.

”And grow into it they have—over 22 employees including sales staff, customer service and dealer representatives, installers, and an impressive shipping and warehouse staff sending out the quality products Toytec is known for. The products are also what makes Toytec different than other off-road related companies—they don’t just sell their own products but are dealers for other well-known companies like King, Icon, SPC, Eibach, ARB, Old Man Emu, as well as other companies that make off-road accessories. “We have about 650 dealers all across the U.S. and Canada and Dubai—all over. We sell a lot of truck accessories—upper control arms, tires, wheels—we kind of do it all. But we also have our own brand, too, which is what we mostly sell to our dealers.

”Toytec is one of the largest distributors for ARB, receiving up to three or four large shipments of suspensions and products from the Australian brand a year. “The Old Man Emu springs are a really good rear spring. So, we sell a ton of those, along with our stuff too. That’s one of the reasons why we sell so much of it—it's not always just Old Man Emu kits. We’re using some of that stuff in conjunction with our products.

”Location, location... and installation

With the new location, the intention was to set up a nice showroom for more walk-ins. “We didn’t really have a showroom at our other place, it was more just shipping almost everything we sold out of there. We didn’t have that many walk-in customers. In the two years that we’ve been here, we’ve seen a lot more people coming in. Now that we’re doing installs, that number has gone up.

”Don’t expect an enormous showroom when you walk into Toytec, but do expect to be greeted right away from, seriously, some of the nicest sales people ever. They aren’t there to sell you everything you don’t need, but rather making sure to set you up properly the first time and prepare you for what you may need in the future. This off-roading “hobby” is addictive and they know that—they live it every day themselves and know the products inside and out.

They've also ventured into installation, which wasn’t in Doug’s original plan. “I told everybody we’re never going to install anything. I don’t have any interest in doing it. After being an auto technician for almost 20 years, I was kind of relieved to not have to do that kind of work. But now, we have three full-time tech guys doing it, so it worked out pretty well. They just focus on installations and alignments. We usually have one to two alignments scheduled everyday along with our vehicles that we’re doing that we align when we’re done.

”Aligning lifted vehicles takes a little more finesse and experience and Toytec has seen their share of alignment doozies. “We have people coming in here all the time with lifts and when we do their alignment—for some people it’s the 3rd alignment shop they’ve been to—and we put it on the rack and we think, geez, this is so screwed up!"

For the love of coilsprings and Toyotas

Although Doug has helped start other companies, he’s focused solely on Toytec. The spacers and their most popular best-selling Toytec Boss line of shocks, which were originally designed 10 years ago with Eibach, well-known for their coilsprings since the 1970s. “They pretty much make springs for everything from bicycles to NASCAR to anything you can think of that has a coilspring.” Toytec’s newest line, the Toytec Boss Aluma Series, are adjustable for 2 – 3 inches of lift with the coilovers already assembled. They are made from hard anodized aluminum for cooler operation and better protection from the elements.

Of course, when your shop does suspension, all your personal and company vehicles should be running your product, and Toytec is no exception. “The company and myself, we have some personal vehicles and some company vehicles. We have two Tundras that are company vehicles. We have two 4Runners. We actually have a race truck Tundra, too, so that’s technically three Tundras. We don’t have a Tacoma anymore—we had some guy that wanted to buy it really bad.” When asked if he is a die-hard Toyota fan, Doug says with a slight chuckle, “Pretty much!”

The Toytec family

Toytec may be known for their amazing products—over 3,000 products on their website currently with different accessories, and everything Toyota and off-roading—but their reputation for customer service is what made them a household name in the off-road community. This may be in part to how they treat their employees and customers like family. “I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else right now besides Toytec Lifts. They’ve given me the opportunity to turn my passion into a reality when all I was looking for was a job—I ended up finding a family. Sometimes, I forget I’m even working since I’m enjoying my time so much here,” says Anthony Nguyen, one of the many sales people on staff at Toytec.

“Toytec Lifts is a really awesome company to work for—it's like a home away from home. Every day that I show up to work is another day that I'm given the opportunity to help someone build the vehicle of their dreams,” says Hugo Huerta, one of Toytec’s top sales people. If you know Hugo, you know he’s speaking the truth and isn’t just spewing a generic sales pitch—he truly believes this. Doug hired Hugo a few years ago after meeting him at various off-road events and group trail runs. Hugo was working as a bartender at the time and was ready for a change in his life, knowing that bartending wasn’t going to get him where he truly felt he belonged—in the off-road community. Hugo put a plea out on social media for a job and Doug answered, hiring him instantly. “I came from a volatile industry where the employees were never appreciated. When I started looking for new opportunities in the car industry, Doug gave me a chance as a novice and welcomed me with open arms to the Toytec Lifts family.

”This belief in their employees is passed down to their customers, who are treated like they’re a part of the Toytec family as well. This is evident in their reputation in the off-road community by numerous referrals and the constant contact they have with their customers at events and trail runs. 

So, how do you sum up your reputation and longevity in this industry? Doug says it best: “We’ve never spent any money on advertising. It’s been mostly word-of-mouth.

”Word-of-mouth indeed.

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