The Founding of MotorMate
Claude Gouge, who is an avid fisherman, minister and owner of Silverstone Fabrication, had worked on boats most of his life. He decided that his motor support was not stabilizing his engine to his satisfaction. He started designing a new support bracket that would totally secure his engine during trailering and the MotorMate was born. Claude started patent procedures in 2008 with the intention to maybe sell the MotorMate one day.
Claude and Clifton
In 2009, Clifton Bradley made a delivery from his UPS truck to Claude’s shop in Marion, NC. Claude had many bass fishing trophies in his office, which spurred a conversation between the two because Clifton had an incredible love of fishing. They soon became good friends and fishing buddies. Claude showed Clifton one of his inventions he called the MotorMate. Clifton had Claude make one for his boat and motor setup so he could use it during his weekend fishing tournaments. During and after the tournaments, Clifton was asked by many fellow fisherman where he got the MotorMate and where they could purchase one. Clifton then went back to Claude and said “Let’s sell these things.”
Taking the Test
Therefore the business was started on these foundational principles:
1) The MotorMate would always be American made;
2) It would be the best product it could be and they would stand behind it 100%;
3) They would give the best customer service possible;
4) And above all, they would give thanks to the Lord every day for all the blessings the company quickly began to bring.
Some of the first customers who received a MotorMate were professional fisherman. These pros were great testing grounds because if the MotorMate could stand the abuse of their long trips and many hours trailering their boats, then it would definitely stand up to the weekend angler.
Support and exposure from the pros helped get the calls coming in and the products flying off the shelves. Both Claude and Clifton attended as many boat shows and open houses at marinas as they could in addition to still working their day jobs. The FLW was very instrumental in MotorMate growth, as their shows were in new states that had not seen the product as of yet. This gave Claude and Clifton the opportunity to have one-on-one discussions with the pros about their MotorMate experiences. The pros also made important evaluations, which helped them make product improvements along the way.
MotorMate Making Moves
MotorMate grew steadily over the next three years, during which time Claude decided to sell the business to Clifton and his wife Marsha. After almost two wonderful years of working the business, meeting incredible people and increasing sales, the business grew faster than space and time allowed. In late 2014, Clifton and Marsha decided to sell the MotorMate product line to EPCO Products, Inc. so the MotorMate growth they started could grow and expand with the additional resources made possible by EPCO.