How this young entrepreneur turned bad business into a growing empire

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    Joshua Levy of Shavertown is a young entrepreneur with a new business geared toward car enthusiasts that promises to “take your car to a whole new level.”
    The 26-year-old combined his entrepreneurial spirit and hobby for rebuilding cars to launch Nine1Forged, a wheel manufacturing company that specializes in the design and production of customized three-piece wheels that are hand-built.
    Levy first took interest in cars at the age of 16, when he spotted a 1983 Volkswagen GTI Rabbit on 13-inch wheels at a car show.
    “I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen,” Levy said.
    He purchased a classic Volkswagen GTI of his own when he was 18, a car that he is still restoring, and has since collected more than 40 cars and counting.
    “I love everything about cars and I really enjoy making them my own and showing them at car shows. I go to at least 10 car shows a year,” Levy said.
    Last year a disappointing encounter with a company that was helping Levy personalize a set of wheels provoked something that he never imagined would happen.
    “I had a 2003 Audi TT show car that I was building and wanted to make it really stand out. I did a lot of customizing on that car and it won a lot of car shows, but it was missing one thing. Wheels. I ordered three-piece custom wheels and was so excited to have custom-built wheels for my car; so I thought,” Levy said.
    What should have been a four to six week production process elapsed into three months without any wheels.
    “After waiting over three months with no updates from the company and spending $4,800, I decided to get a refund. The company treated me like a number. It was just a bad experience and horrible way to feel after getting so personal with the company to design wheels that I wanted for something I was passionate about,” Levy said.
    Though Levy didn’t get a set of wheels, he walked away with something even better, he said.
    “While working with Nico, the sales rep for the company that helped me with my refund, we actually developed a great relationship. After having that bad experience, Nico and I joked about starting our own company to make wheels. A week later we actually spoke on the phone again about making our own wheels and decided to make it happen,” Levy said on how he met business partner Nico Delgiorno of Lancaster.
    Levy was so determined to launch Nine1Forged that he sold a car and his quad to get the business started — a sense of drive that he credits his mother for after watching her raise three kids, work two jobs and manage to go back to school to earn her master’s degree.
    Since Nine1Forged emanated following a displeasing customer service experience, Levy said his and Delgiorno’s company is resolutely focused on providing first-rate service.
    “When someone orders custom wheels with Nine1Forged, they are fully involved in the process. You’ll be updated with pictures, emails and phone calls throughout your build,” Levy said.
    Nine1Forged wheels start around $3,000 and can cost as much as $5,000.
    “Our company is targeted toward anyone who wants to build something special for his or her car. When you’re a car enthusiast, dropping three-to-five grand into a car isn’t uncommon. For example, when people take pride in the house, they’ll easily drop at least that, probably more, on a building or remodeling a room. We provide a service that isn’t found around here for people who are deeply passionate about cars using the best barrels and lips on the market,” Levy said.
    Justin is well-known in Northeastern Pennsylvania for being a party boy, having written more than 200 “Sorry Mom & Dad” columns. While he is always up for a good time, he’s also a serious journalist who has written about controversial issues. When he’s not writing for Weekender, he’s working on his online talk show, “We the Millennials.” Contact him at 570-991-6652 and follow him on Instagram @justinadambrown