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2012 National Small Business Exporter of the Year
Al Youngwerth’s parents had no idea the impact that a trip with their young son to the theater for a viewing of “On Any Sunday” would someday reshape the off-road motorcycle industry worldwide. The impressionable lad was already smitten with dirt bike riding, but to see it glamorized on the big screen left a significant imprint on his mind.
Al’s passion for motorcycling never wavered as he matured. He settled into a career as a computer engineer for a local company and spent his weekends exploring the spectacular environment surrounding his Boise home. In 2002, Al was riding his dirt bike when his clutch failed causing him to have a less enjoyable experience. Upon his return home, Youngwerth made the commitment to himself that he was going to design a better motorcycle clutch.
While maintaining his day job, Youngwerth began designing a new automatic clutch in his spare time. As he progressed, Youngwerth enlisted the help of Boise State University’s TechHelp and a local machine shop to develop the first prototype of his clutch. Within a very short period of time, Al had refined his prototype at which point he shared his success with a group of on-line motorcycling enthusiasts. The reception was overwhelming and in no time he had orders for 47 of his new “auto clutches” confirming his expectation for the demand for his new product.
At this point, Youngwerth called on his friend and owner of a local machine shop, Pro Moto Billet, to teach him how to operate CNC machines and produce his clutch. His apprenticeship served as the production run to fulfill the first order of clutches.
Inspired by the fond reception his clutch received industry-wide, Youngwerth started Rekluse Motor Sports in late 2002. Fortunately, he had owned several small businesses in the past, thus making this sometimes daunting task very manageable. Immediately, Al hired his brother to assist in the manufacturing process as he quickly assembled the necessary equipment to go into production with his personal resources and conventional financing.
In 2003, as Rekluse began to generate revenue, Youngwerth obtained an SBA 7(a) loan to use as working capital. This was not a particularly difficult task as Al was equipped with all the necessary documentation supporting the loan application.
“We were thrilled to have SBA financing available to help facilitate our growth,” recalled Youngwerth. “We knew the demand was there and we wanted to make our products available worldwide.”
Rekluse has been building on their international sales since the firm’s inception. In addition to their own innovative international marketing approach, Rekluse has taken advantage of SBA’s State Export Promotion Program offered through the Idaho Department of Commerce and the US Commercial Service’s Gold Key Matching Service.
“We are proud to be an American manufacturer, but we certainly plan to continue to seek relationships with motorcycling customers wherever there are riders,’ said Youngwerth. “We have a great team here in Boise and based on our growth, Rekluse will be doing its part to support the economic recovery through increased employment for some time to come.”