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The three partners behind LOUD Performance Products at 4818 Route 430 in Maple Springs like things loud. And fast. They like things bold, bright and a little funky.
The friends have very diverse backgrounds, but snowmobiling brought them together. Casey Mulkins is a native of Mayville, New York, and has snowmobiling in his blood.
Jerry Hull, one of the mechanics at LOUD, is a long-time friend of the Mulkins family. He and Kenneth Mulkins, Casey’s dad, were friends who raced snowmobiles, and when Casey got a little older, they started building snowmobiles for him. Casey won New York State Championships as a kid, and later won world championships as a factory drag racer for SkiDoo.
A second partner, Dee Dippel, is originally from the Pittsburgh area, and has a background in coal and gravel mining. A lifelong outdoor enthusiast, he bought his first skis from Doug Spegar in a shop run by Spegar’s family near Uniontown, PA. In a strange coincidence, Dippel now services the machine, called a side-by-side, that Spegar uses to plow the parking lot at Guppy’s, the restaurant he and his wife, Christy, own.
Although he hasn’t known Casey quite as long as he’s known Spegar, Dippel bought his first snowmobile from Casey a few years ago. And, as they say, the rest is history. The friends started tossing around the idea of having their own business, and the store had its grand opening last October.
Kate Friday, the third partner, has a background in textile and fashion design, with a degree from the Fashion Institute in New York City. She designed the sign and logo for LOUD Performance Products, and is primarily responsible for the clothing lines the store carries.
“These are my favorite jeans,” Kate said, referring to the beautifully embellished “Miss Me” jeans laid out on one of the circular racks. “I still wear some I bought ten years ago.”
Wearing a “side-tie hoodie,” one of the sweatshirts the shop carries, she points to the dozens of coats, pants, and one-piece suits for snowmobilers.
“People wear these for skiing, too, and kids like them,” she said. “I wear one to walk my dogs when it’s really cold out.”
Dippel piped in. “We sell a lot to ice fishermen. They’re the warmest things around, and they’re bright, so the fishermen are visible on the lake.”
The shop itself is interesting and has something for everyone. LOUD services all brands of snowmobiles, and sells used and consigned sleds. They are not yet an official dealer of a particular line.
Clothing, socks and gear for all sorts of outdoor activities line walls and shelves of one large room, and bathing suits, board shorts, sunglasses, mountain bike gear and other items aimed at young, athletic outdoor enthusiasts will replace cold weather clothing as the seasons change. Plans are in the works to have a variety of gatherings on the property during the warm weather – all designed to get people outside.
The store interior reflects the artistic sides of all three partners. Casey makes furniture, and some of his lights and stools are on display in the shop. Kate’s art and design work appear throughout the shop. Roughcut lumber paneling is trimmed with crown molding made from old skis, and metal signs and a custom fireplace reflect the spirit of the place.
Stop in and see the folks at LOUD Performance Products. They’ll start talking power sports, but they might end up talking about the beauty of Chautauqua County, their devotion to the year round activities that are available to residents and visitors here, or the fun of wearing crazy socks. Vroom.