The Rise of South Florida jeeps
“In the beginning, it was literally just me,” recollected Ghattas. “Honestly, it’s crazy to think about now given the amount of volume our dealership handles, but back in the day, I alone was basically doing tires and rim upgrades, as well as sound systems and paint jobs on exotics. I got to focus on every single detail and that’s what our customers really appreciated. Next thing you know my shop had built up a following, and more and more people began buying from me. That’s when I called up my best friend Madison Frost, who is the current General Manager of South Florida Jeeps. We both share that similar passion in transforming vehicles into something better, eye-catching, one-of-a-kind and with all that volume coming in I needed an assist.”
Being busy meant Joe and Madison had little time for their own personal cars, modified Wranglers. These off-road Jeep prototypes had all the early attributes that South Florida Jeeps is now famous for, including lift kits, big wheels, eye-grabbing rims and tailor-made leather interiors. Little by little customers started noticing the owner’s personal ride and inquiring.
“So our startup company is doing a couple of sales each week, which is great for just two guys, who had never ran a business before, especially given the economic state of the country. Ferraris and Lamborghinis are continuously leaving our shop, but our base of customers are always asking us about the three custom Jeeps we have parked outside. We keep basically fending these people off telling them ‘It’s not for sale, it’s not for sale, until… it was for sale,” laughed Ghattas. “We had to give in to the demand. Next thing ya know we are buying Jeeps and adding lifts, wheels and tires, stitching one-of-kind interiors and selling them. Nothing too, too fancy but it worked and that’s when the real momentum started to build and because of the nonstop sales we shifted our focus to primarily contrate on Jeeps.”
Most would be complacently happy and set their profitable companies on cruise control at this point, but not custom-obsessed Ghattas. His demand to go above and beyond to create a lot full of concepts cars that are actually for sale developed at this moment.
“We are building more and more and more, and that’s when we begin to notice the aftermarket business didn’t have a lot of different Jeep products or options. Everyone kind of does the same wheels, fenders, hoods, there is a significant void in personalization, or even challenging regular design molds. So we show a huge opportunity to start creating our own products. This is what really separates us from the pack. When you buy one of our custom-made products it’s literally a 1-out-of-1. A South Florida Jeep now that looks like nothing else out there, the only thing still original are the four doors,” pointed out Ghattas.
Flash forward to 2020 and the days of a two-man operation almost seemed unfathomable for a company with four stores in four locations and approximately 40 employees. In total, South Florida Jeeps has upgraded, customized and built from scratch over 3,000 Jeeps. In fact, things have come full circle, as some of their earliest customers are now trading in those older Jeeps that they purchased from the company when it was in its infancy, to own the latest and baddest So Flo Jeep creation.
“Our Jeep changes every year, with new products to add and our own one of in-house produced one-of-a-kind designs. We have come a long way, I remember the primary mission when we first set out to do this builds was to create something that could stand up to the off road challenges and be just fun. Today, that still holds true but with one huge upgrade, 2020’s South Florida Jeep is a daily driver, it can be used to go on the highway and do long trips. We have engineered the hell out of these vehicles to comfortably riding along public streets, going to and from work, while also venturing off road and able to conquer any terrain this world throws at it. We are so proud to have come this far and our incredibly thankful to our dedicated staff, who has ballooned up to 40 employees, and especially our customers, who allow us to push these creations to the edge of innovation each day.”
Bigger and better has always been our internal credo at South Florida Jeeps and with what the company has accomplished in its short existence, sky is truly the limit on where there creations will be in the next eleven years.