Bad Boy Buggies continues expansion across country

Published 12:33 am Sunday, December 2, 2007

NATCHEZ — Believe it or not. Natchez has its own multi-million, international industry.

Bad Boy Buggies has come along way from being just a tinkering project for Bubba Kaiser and Joe Palermo.

There are 125 dealerships ranging from the Midwest to the East Coast with plans to head out west.

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“We haven’t expanded too far out west because we don’t have the capabilities to provide the kind of service we want to our buyers,” director of marketing and partner Selah Willard said.

Willard said the company was looking into setting up an office out west so they could expand their dealerships and provide adequate service to their buyers.

The Bad Boy company hasn’t limited itself to just the U.S.

“I’ve had calls from people in Germany, Africa and Tahiti wanting to know how to get one of our buggies,” company partner Tom Mansell said. “I tell them to send me a check and I’ll ship it to them. People from all over have purchased our buggies.”

They have recently opened a factory in Changshu, China.

“The factory in China employs around 85 people,” Mansell said. “They produce the body, seats and basket. All the main components come from the U.S. and the buggies are assembled here in Natchez.”

Bad Boy Buggies Enterprises has grown exponentially since 2003.

In their first year of production, they were producing six to eight buggies per week with just a handful of employees and brought in revenue of $250,000.

Now they put out 20 to 21 buggies per day, employ 47-50 people and Willard said they should bring in $21 million to $23 million in revenue this year.

“We have grown more than we ever thought,” Willard said.

Since 2005, they have gone from selling 1,200 buggies in a year to 3,000 this year.

Bad Boy Buggies have found their own niche in the hunting vehicle market.

Willard said they really didn’t have any competition because other companies don’t produce all electric, all-terrain vehicles.

“No one else makes these types of vehicles,” she said. “We have started looking at other markets as well.”

They have sold the electric vehicles to mining companies, construction companies, parks and even petroleum giant BP.

“We have had a wonderful relationship with BP for about a year and a half now,” Willard said. “They have bought quite a few of our buggies and we have outfitted them with solar panels for them.”

Willard said BP takes the buggies and donates them to zoos, state parks and wildlife preserves.

The partners of Bad Boy Enterprises see a bright future for blossoming company.

Willard said the company would continue to grow and serve Natchez.

“We are in plans to relocate to a larger building,” partner Jim Willard said. “We hope to be in the Stine building by April 2008.”

Selah said that once they were in the larger building they would add more employees, a dealership and have an area for merchandise and gear.

“We want to be the leader in the electric vehicle market and continue to look at parallel markets,” Selah said. “We are a local company that employs local people. We are committed to Natchez and want to be here for years to come.”