Wildcat Manufacturing has called Tahoka home for the past 30-years. The company began building spot sprayers in 1976, but a request from Tahoka High School launched them into a new business.
The high school asked if Wildcat would make them some athletic lockers. Owner Leighton Knox says he was happy to help, but never dreamed it would grow into anything more. "It was an accident, but a good accident," said Knox.
Customer requests have made Wildcat Manufacturing what it is today. Their business began with... "A request from a customer who wanted something to spray weeds with," said Knox. That's when the Wildcat spot sprayer was born, though it's gone through some changes to get to what it looks like now. "The first ones were three wheelers and real small," said Knox.
Then, another request came, this time for lockers at Tahoka High School. "We built them for them, and somebody saw them, and it took off. It wasn't really a planned excursion," said Knox. Now, schools make up about 50% of Wildcat's business. "During the summer, the phone doesn't stop ringing, and daddy refuses to tell a coach they can't have them by August 1st, no matter how many schools are ahead of them," said Starrlyn Bray.
Wildcat's lockers can be seen in schools throughout Texas, and throughout the country. They're even in the Philadelphia Soul Locker Room. The co-owner had to call Bray to tell her the deal was real. "It feels cooler when Jon Bon Jovi calls you himself and tells you it's not a joke," said Bray. "I could probably make more money in a lot of places, or make more business. I don't know whether I'd make any more money or not, but if I can't do it here, I just won't do it," said Knox.
Wildcat's latest venture is weight lifting equipment, and that business is also taking off. It's hard to believe that Knox is actually retired, but he says that retirement is doing what you want, and that's what he is doing.
|History of Tahoka|