One of the members of JOCCI just posted this on our forum-
It has been rumored that Poison Spyder was closing, having problems or just reorganizing. I recently addressed some of this on the boards, if you read closely you would have caught that I was contemplating another direction at that time. I have entertained a change for over a year now and finally pulled the trigger. I'am closing Poison Spyder customs down in it's current form, as a full manufacturer.
I originally started out building Baja bugs at age 15, learned allot but moved on to Jeeps. Had a five year gig with the army in a Special forces unit as a commo specialist and Thai linguist, after an injury was forced to redirect my life plan. I never forgot the off road world, and figured I would try to find a place in it. Worked at a small shop called Wilderness off road, then to 4 Wheel parts doing special projects while writing for 4X4 Power and JP magazine. Partnered with my buddy Steve Rumore, sold my house, paid all of my debts and moved into 1000 ft. shop in the heart of Denver. Steve maintaining the sister shop in Bayfeild,Colorado. This was Avalanche engineering. My dogs and I lived at various shops for six years as the company grew through the Avalanche days and then separated into Poison Spyder customs. Bringing along a heritage of innovation and style that is still part of the modern DNA of the rock machines built today. We grew from those meager days to a fully encapsulated and self sufficient manufacturer. As I reflect over the past twenty five years in the dirt world, owning an off road company of Poison Spyder's size and abilities should have been the pinnacle. When I got to the top of that mountain I found myself looking back wishing I had stopped somewhere along the way.
The above is very summarized history, all a continued evolution built on vehicles and component innovation. One of the first questions everyone poses to me is what are you going to do with all of the parts, are you still going to build any of them? No, with a couple of exceptions. Another popular inquiry is where can I get equivalent parts? Even with our components in the grasp of mimicking companies, they could never seem to find the recipe, the perfect combination of function and style that we always aspired to. So to this question I don't have an answer. We grew as a company with our foundation in hard core components, parts that had never been seen or conjured up before. For those of you that were wheeling in the late eighties and early ninety's, you can remember when chrome tube bumpers and diamond plate were the cutting edge. We the renegade hard cores of those days that could be seen running the trails with full width axles, exotic suspensions and these gnarly looking mud tires called Swampers. We couldn't travel the ever escalating trails we were pushing with the off the shelf equipment that was available then. Those parts were more inspired by show truck fashion, and was not the answer for the direction the off road world was destined to follow. Regrettably I'am not driven to continue building and creating some of the best hard core parts in our industry on a production level.
Many people have passed through over the years, I would like to mention several stand outs that were and are integral in our growth and success:
Steve Rumore: A good friend, one of the only people in our industry that could really impress me
Tim Turner: Best fab tech I ever had, an eccentric for sure, but the great ones always are
Paul Herrera: A great organizer, the last one standing a 4AM when something had to get done, huge potential to further himself in the industry
Curt Sadler: A jack of all trades, could cover any position in the company and do it well, and a good friend
Larry wood: A consistent rock of reliability, a trusted cohort, worked at Spyder longer than anyone
AJ Slay: Always a positive force at the shop, the best sales person we have ever had, kept me in touch with reality
Bret Glassett: A creative mind that elevated our company on many levels and a respectable wheeler
Chris Kreutzer: Another individual that came with many unique skills that pushed us upward
Karl Westendorf: A company first man, always looked out for my and Poison Spyders best interest, most capable
So what is to become of Poison Spyder customs? AJ, our daughter, two dogs and I are moving to Luckenbach Texas... well not in a literal sense. However we are going to re-open the first week of November in our new shop. We are leaving behind the tasking dynamics of a large business, staff and burdens that have grown with us over the years. Going back in time to a shop only a hundred yards from my second shop off of Titan court. Our foundation being the Spyderlock bead lock line, of which I'am excited to focus and expand on. Further, after AJ and I get reorganized I will return to building Rock rods, custom machines and trail guiding. We greatly appreciate your patronage of Poison Spyder customs, and look forward to reacquainting with everyone under our new direction.
Clifton and AJ Slay