ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Larry Spriggs has loved cars since he was a teenager. It all started when he began spending time with AND-1 Street Ball players.
"I was actually lucky enough to get close and hang out with a couple of the guys and I used to ride around with them and all of them had wheels on their cars and I could remember being in the back with their systems blasting. I could remember holding my ear because the music was just so loud and that’s what kind of drove my fascination for cars. And as soon as I got to drive, I knew I wanted to hook it up." said Spriggs.
He worked on his car so much that it got to a point where he had to decide if he should finish working on his car, or finish his college degree from Morgan State University. He ultimately decided to finish his car.
"My car would get stuck in the shop. I needed money to get it out of the shop so I would start working and then working became more of a priority to me so I could hook up my car... I feel bad about it because knowing what I know now, I really wish I would have taken advantage and got the knowledge that you can only get from HBCU" said Spriggs.
The detour away from school led to his precious vehicle being fixed but also led to a job that wasn't fulfilling. He knew his passion was cars and decided it was time to take steps towards owning his own shop. He studied under masters in the field and even worked for free to gain the knowledge and experience.
Now with years of training under his belt, Spriggs is on a mission to advance the course for Black people in the car space.
"Sometimes when we look at our culture, we’re the biggest influence from a lot of different products, and sometimes we don’t realize that we have no ownership in these products at all at the higher level. When you look at wheels and tires, a lot of these brands and manufacturers, even the distributors, its not too many Black people, really any at all... nobody has every really thought to go up the ownership chain and instead of owning a shop and selling wheels to customers to say hey I’m going to fly to China and sit down and get my own wheels made and manufactured and own the whole vertical supply chain."
Not only does Spriggs, own his own Wheel shop, he has a tech start up called Wheel Conx, connecting clientele with product.
"I’ve been in this business so long that I’ve seen inefficiencies that I believe we can solve. One of those is if you come into my shop and you want to buy a set of wheels I literally have to call ten different distributors or hop on 10 different inventory sheets to be able to see what’s out there. And I just think that’s crazy. Its 2021 it should be a more efficient way to do that. So we built a platform that connects dealers or retailers directly to the brands so now you can go on this platform and see all of the inventory from the United States all in one place and place orders there. We built this to empower the retailers." said Spriggs.
Passionate about wheels, Spriggs is also passionate about Black entrepreneurship and bridging the racial gap.
"I think it super important to have Black ownership. That’s the only way to get a seat at the table. And seat at the table I don’t even feel comfortable saying because I don’t think we need so much of a seat at the table but having Black Ownership is the only way we can build our own tables So that we have tables to be able to pull each other up" said Spriggs.