Tim Hines and his hard-working crew have built a reputation as one of the best in the entire country at what they do.
Hines started Adrenaline Vans in 2020 and specializes in servicing and modifying light commercial-type vans such as the Mercedes Sprinter.
Hines gave some background as to where the idea for the company came from, his story having origins in motorsports.
“I had a van for several years prior to (opening the business) due to racing motorcycles, vans for hauling motorcycles were perfect,” he said.
He went on to give more background on his varied racing career.
“I’ve always grown up in a racing environment”, he said, “I’ve had cars my whole life, had motorcycles pretty much my whole life. But when it came to racing…out of high school I started getting into motorcycles.”
Hines started drag racing motorcycles, then moved on to a variety of racing types until landing in the MotoCross/off-road scene.
In 2020, Tim decided to take his career in a different direction, becoming an entrepreneur.
“I decided to go ahead and start a business around the van industry because I saw that it was growing, it was something I was interested in, and I’ve always been an automotive guy. So it really made sense.”
The company changed focus after one year, though, as Adrenaline Vans, located south of town at 19117 US-550, became more specialized.
“Initially I started a business building vans complete,” Hines said of the business’ beginnings. “And then at year one, we made a really hard pivot and focused just on performance upgrades and accessories, the things we do now, and not doing interior builds. And that was for a couple reasons, mainly I saw a big demand for that kind of work in this area.”
Adrenaline fills a unique niche, and is one of the few companies specializing in performance upgrades for these vans. Upgrades which give travelers an extra edge when navigating roads such as Colorado’s mountain routes.
He elaborated on the company’s specialization.
“That’s the kind of stuff I’m interested in, and that’s what we’re really really good at here. So we just pushed the business in that direction. We do exterior upgrades, accessories, performance upgrades like suspension, brakes, tuning, lift kits, wheels, tires, and all the stuff on the outside, the bumpers, roof racks, lights, all those types of things,” he said. “We also do a lot of Mercedes servicing. We’ve just really tried to position ourselves as the experts on the Mercedes Sprinter platform. We do work on other vans as well; but the majority of our work is the Sprinter-specific stuff.”
But who is Adrenaline’s core customer base? Tim talked about who owns these vans.
“For the most part, our customer base are folks that also own a home, that also have other vehicles. They look at this van as a tool so they can maximize their time away,” he said. “So when they take a trip; they can really get off grid with it. We do for sure get people that live in their vans; but that’s a pretty small percentage of our client base.”
Something people may not know about Hines is that he has a military background.
He spoke to how this has affected the mentality of the company.
“I was an aviation rescue swimmer in the Navy, so a helicopter crewman…stationed in San Diego, did a couple deployments out of there. It was an incredible experience, I was able to take a lot away from that experience when it comes to the military with regard to discipline and attention to detail,” he said. “All of the paperwork and checks and balances, the quality control; that kind of mentality of just being extremely thorough really does pay off in an automotive environment, and in running your own business.”
Adrenaline Vans employs seven people from Montrose and the surrounding area, each with a specific, and important task. These include equipment installers, who are essentially the mechanics, installing pieces to upgrade and maintain everything that comes through the shop. In addition, Hines employs a warehouse manager, bookkeeper, sales manager, and remote-working social media manager.
In such a venture, good people behind the scenes are needed to keep the wheels turning. Tim alluded to this when asked about what makes Adrenaline a great place to work.
“The people,” he said. “It’s a really really great crew of people. It’s an enjoyable environment to work in. Everybody treats everyone else with respect.”
The shop is beautiful and always kept clean, according to Hines. “Everything is organized and tidy, and that’s a culture deal. That kind of comes from my military background in aviation where everything has its place, tool control is huge. We’ve tried to implement a lot of that here.”
He continued, emphasizing how the employees power their success. “Finding key people to add to the team as we’ve grown, that helped further the business, grows a culture of quality and a culture of positivity for people that work here. And those people that joined the team and help further that end goal have been instrumental.”
One of those key people, Brooke White, has been with the company for just over a year. Asked about what she liked about working there, she lauded Hines’ leadership as well as the tight-knit crew he has built.
“The ownership is the number one thing, the boss is great, really cares about all of us and the success of the business that goes down to the success of each individual person,” White said. “And we do a lot of fun activities and we all hang out outside of work quite often.”
Another one of those key people is Will Geyer, the operations manager.
Geyer is a graduate of the Colorado School of Mines with a mechanical engineering degree, and supervises parts of the processes in the shop. He stated the shop conditions are part of what he likes about the job.
“It’s not your typical mechanic shop, just by how clean and nice everything is. It’s a little different,” Geyer said. “It’s really unique, too, the type of work we do and the type of vehicles we work on. There are very few places in Colorado (like this). We’ve got a pretty good group of people that work here.”
Adrenaline Vans has a good reputation in the industry, and Geyer said the company has a wide customer base partially because people seek them out.
Hines and his employees keep busy, with the company running as many as two dozen vans through the shop on the busiest weeks.
Even during an average week, the shop is usually full.
“On any given day we have between 6 and 9 vans in the shop, plus we usually have 6 to 8 in our storage facility.”, said Hines.
As such, other business partnerships have been important to Adrenaline Vans.
Hines gave a list of several of the local companies that assist them with van maintenance: Blackout Graphics for the vinyl, Dent Doctor for window tint and paintless dent repair, Affordable Auto Glass for changing windshields, and San Juan Fabrication for powder coating.
“Some cool partnerships in town, locally; we all help spread business around, keep it local, and they’re all good buddies of mine,” Hines said.
Another business the business does a lot of work with is Colorado Coatings, which does all the bed liner coatings.
“There’s a lot of synergy with local businesses which is really cool,” Hines said. “It helps us out a lot because then we can offer a one stop shop for a customer, where the customer can just drop their van off for a period of days; and then they come and pick their vehicle up and everything is done.
“There’s not a lot of places that are offering such a comprehensive package like that.”
Asked what he’d like more people to know about the company, Hines said, “I wish I could somehow fully encapsulate the full scope of what we do and communicate that to people ahead of time. Sometimes I wish people knew how small we were truly, as far as staff goes. I know a lot of people get the impression that it’s a really big operation, and while we have grown a lot in the last several years, it’s still small. Seven employees, plus myself.”
Hines said when people visit to see the finished product, they note the amount of care that went into the work.
“The amount of attention to detail and the amount of effort that all of my staff puts in on their work, I do think that’s apparent and I know that our reputation is out there for that kind of quality of work.”
Adrenaline Vans can be reached at adrenalinevans.com or by phone at 970-318-6055.
Gunnison Clamp is a freelance contributor for the Montrose Business Times.