Terry and Tammie Blacklance spoke at TREK on July 11. They are owners of FRP Incorporated, a corporation started in 2005 as a motorsports racing promotion business.
Although Terry has always been an entrepreneur at heart, for more than twenty years, he worked for the Thief River Falls school district. He enjoyed working with the kids and people at the school, but eventually found himself being pulled in another direction.
Wired for Entrepreneurship
Even as a child, Terry was hardwired for entrepreneurship. “I’ve always been an entrepreneur,” Terry said. When he was a kid, he enjoyed having his own paper route, organizing a garage sale for his mom, and fundraising for his class. “It was always something I enjoyed throughout my childhood years,” Terry said. “My path for entrepreneurship goes way back.”
In 2012, Terry and Tammie reached a crossroad. Terry had been working in education for 22 years and, as a supervisor, he had made budget cut after budget cut. The last cut to be made was his own salary. Terry thought, “maybe it’s time to do something different.”
Around that time, Tammie’s mother passed away and left Tammie some money. “We didn’t want to waste it, and the pull into entrepreneurship hadn’t gone away,” Terry said. They decided to turn their interest in motorsports into a business and FRP Incorporated was born.
Setting Up Shop
They started by purchasing a $700 cutting machine that they found in Rochester, Minnesota, and setting up shop on their property south of Thief River Falls. Before long race cars from all over the country were purchasing products from them.
In 2019, they took another big step, purchasing a commercial property on the north side of Thief River Falls. Although it was a big decision, it has proven to be a good one. “I would guess we’ve probably seen a 200 percent increase in business,” Terry said. “I call it foot traffic,” Tammie added. “They still have to drive, but we’re more visible now.”
Under FRP, they have several DBAs, including Fast GraphiX, U-Haul, Racer’s Motorsports Consignment, and Indoor Storage. They also lease space to Lancer Fabrication, a business owned by Terry and Tammie’s son, Aaron Blacklance.
“We do work really hard, but we also enjoy what we do,” Tammie said.
“What motivates me every day is the joy of seeing all the work we do,” Terry said. “I drive around and I can see our products displayed all over the region.”
Left to right: Tammie Blacklance, Terry Blacklance, and Aaron Blacklance.