Spartan 4x4

Robert Bowden (from left) of Atlanta, Andrew Clark of Bowling Green and Hunter Lee of Utica, Ky., pose for a photo in their truck named “Leonidas” on Monday, June 25, 2018,at the WKU Small Business Development Center.

Started in 2018 by three Western Kentucky University students in cramped quarters at the WKU Small Business Accelerator on Nashville Road, Spartan Garage is doing some accelerating of its own.

Launched as Spartan 4x4 by partners Robert Bowden, Andrew Clark and Hunter Lee, the business that specializes in custom builds of trucks and off-road vehicles has gained traction even during the coronavirus pandemic and is ready to move to some of Bowling Green’s high-profile real estate.

Bowden got approval Wednesday from the Warren County Design Review Board of an overlay development plan that will lead to Spartan Garage setting up shop on a 0.92-acre plot on busy Lovers Lane.

“We’ve been planning on getting a location on a main road for a while,” said Bowden, the 22-year-old company founder and chief executive. “We purchased the land in 2019, and we have started some site work.”

From its beginning in the Small Business Accelerator, Spartan 4x4 moved to the NCM Motorsports Park on National Corvette Museum property and then to its current 6,000-square-foot headquarters on Chester Court off Scottsville Road.

The application Spartan Garage submitted to the Design Review Board said the new location will be 7,708 square feet and will include a 1,000-square-foot showroom.

Bowden said the business still does custom builds but also carries various aftermarket parts and provides services such as alignments, lighting and welding.

“This will give us a lot more visibility,” Bowden said of the site at 980 Lovers Lane that is near the BG Tire location at 1046 Lovers Lane. “There are about 13,000 cars per day traveling that road. This will give us great accessibility for customers, and we’ll be closer to vendors.”

Expanding to larger quarters during the pandemic-induced economic slowdown may seem counter to conventional thinking, but Bowden said it’s the natural next evolution for a company that has grown even during a time when many businesses are struggling.

“We had to close down in April and May,” Bowden said. “But we’ve been fortunate. We will double our sales this year from 2019. Our customers are still spending money.”

Expecting more growth in sales next year, Bowden said employment at Spartan Garage has doubled from the original three to six. With larger quarters in a more visible location, he expects further growth.

“We’ll definitely hire one more person, maybe more,” he said.

The company has also grown in its capabilities. Although the customization part of the business continues to grow, the rebranding from Spartan 4x4 to Spartan Garage reflects a more diversified business model.

“We still specialize in street and off-road customization,” Bowden said, “but we service cars as well. We can do general maintenance on all cars.”

With site work already underway, Bowden expects construction of the new Spartan Garage headquarters to move quickly.

“We hope to be open by April or May,” he said.

– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.

​– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.