When Phil Day was looking at a new business opportunity in 1991 it came riding through the front door literally.


Day had sold his marine manufacturing business, Gil Marine, a few years earlier, and Harley-Davidson motorcycle owners began bringing in their bikes for customization. Soon his factory was building customized chassis for walk-in customers, prompting him to realize, "This after-market business is growing to be quite the business."


By 1992, "We really started to escalate," and Daytec was born.


"We build fabricated products. That's what we do best."


A year earlier, Day had the opportunity to buy back his powder-coating business, and JPM Product and Finishing Co. was started. Unlike conventional liquid painting, powder coating uses a dry powder that does not require a solvent. As a result, powder coating doesn't emit volatile organic compounds, and it can produce thicker coatings without running or sagging.


Day quickly realized that motorcycle parts manufacturing and powder coating went hand-in-hand.


"I was looking hard for a product line that needed powder-coating. I looked real hard at this motorcycle industry. Real hard."


He began to specialize in customizing parts for "soft-tail" Harley-Davidson frames.


"So that kind of opened up the market place," he said, adding, "I've always been into fancy things with rubber tires."


Phenomenal growth


In 1993-94, Daytec sold 69 motorcycle chassis. The company's zenith was 2005 when they sold 8,000 a year.


"We had astronomical growth."


During a business seminar a few years earlier he learned a concept, "Is It Real? Can We Win? Is It Worth Doing?" Clearly his new manufacturing line was working, and he was able to apply what he learned from the marine parts business to the motorcycle chassis world.


"I took what I learned there and applied it here (to motorcycles)."


But what revs up must sputter down, and the economic slowdown that has affected so many types of businesses also hurt Daytec.


"It hurt our whole after-market industry. People couldn't buy motorcycles because it got so hard to borrow money."


During it's heyday, Daytec had 185 employees over two shifts. Today it's only 20. And several of today's workers are family members, including son Tony and daughter Malissa.


But has several demands for his son and daughter.


"They can't address me as Dad, and they must punch in and out."


New opportunities


The hard times took a toll on Day and his marriage, which broke up. Physically he felt lackluster, so finally he went to the doctor and discovered he needed intestinal surgery. Afterward, his health improved, and then he found new love and got remarried.


Now he is looking at ways to come out of the business slump victorious. On the sprawling Daytec property on Lemon Street he has a motorcycle parts store, which will soon be open to the public. The store could be the gateway to new success.


"When I came here the valley was 20,000. Now it's 200,000 people."


Coupled with the manufacturing and powder-coating sides of his company, Daytec could find new life.


"We're going to get back there," Day said. "I need to get Daytec more diversified and keep it that way."


Day's experience will lead the way.


"I don't claim to be a great business person. I have good common sense."


Note: Daytec owner Phil Day is not related to Hesperia Star editor Peter Day.