Fast cars and fast growth: Aftermarket car performance retailer is latest Pulaski County investor

BimmerWorld to stay local, add $1 million in staff, resources

By Tommy Lopez - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

PULASKI COUNTY, Va. - Another Pulaski County company has announced it’s staying put and expanding.

On the heels of Volvo’s bombshell decision last month to invest $400 million into its plant near Dublin, its next-door neighbor, BimmerWorld, is also deepening its roots in the New River Valley.

The homegrown business is investing $1 million into its operation and adding 15 new jobs to its existing 25-member staff. 

The business focuses on selling and tuning up aftermarket performance parts for BMWs. Its founder and president, James Clay, also has had success behind the wheel, winning endurance races on closed-course, road-simulated tracks in the IMSA.

“We race cars, which is the exciting part of it,” Clay said.

His company is a local success story. Born in Pulaski County, Clay thought of the idea for the business while he was a student at Virginia Tech.

For more than two decades, he’s been souping up some of the fastest cars in the world, and now BimmerWorld is the leading BMW tuning and parts retailer in North America, with customers located around the world.

It sells to a wide range of customers. Race teams take the $500,000 finished products to the track. Other drivers enjoy the street-legal performance, including Clay’s mother, who drives a customized BMW.

BimmerWorld’s investment will expand its warehouse and its sales operation. Clay wants to hire industry leaders -- and he’ll pay for them.

“It’s going to be a big step forward in our business, so I’m thrilled,” he said.

He was tempted to move to a location in South Carolina, where BMW has a facility, but he’s staying for the quality of life, the business climate and the local relationships.

“I strongly prefer to be where we are. Pulaski County is home for me,” Clay said. “Our workforce, our employees are our family and they’re our most important asset.”

He said it’s taken hard work and knowledge of the market to build his company to where it is today, and now he’s benefitting from a growing demand for these car parts.

Clay expects the company will continue to grow.

County leaders said the investment shows that investments in K-12 education are also investments in the local economy.

“It’s a homegrown business continuing to enjoy success and growth, further stabilizing our local economy, creating great jobs,” Pulaski County Administrator Jonathan Sweet said.

And local leaders said more economic development announcements are on the way.

“We think that we're growing at the right size at the right pace,” Sweet said. “Creating jobs is how we get there. Creating opportunities for residential options is how we get there, quality of life, investments in education. We are doing all those things simultaneously.”

You can see more coverage on how beneficial the recent economic announcements will be for the county and how the county is examining housing, infrastructure and more to make room for thousands of residents.

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