Created: Thu, 29 May 2014 06:45:00 CST
Updated: Fri, 30 May 2014 11:35:56 CST
It started as a hobby in his brother's basement in Hastings. One Aurora man turned his dream job into a reality.
Troy Hofmann is racing towards the checkered flag. It's a Sign of Success for tonight's Story in the Heartland
"Growing up I always liked art class," Hofmann said. "Then I started doing graphics and just started learning the trait and taught myself everything."
Troy Hofmann grew up around the race track.
"I race myself at McCool Junction, so that's kind of where it all started," Hofmann said.
The bright cars whip around the track on a hot summer night.
"It's cool when I go out and watch a heat race during the night and every car in the heat race is one I've done," Hofmann said.
Troy was working full time at a manufacturing company when he had an itch.
"In 2009, me and a couple of my friends decided to get a vinyl cutter to do our own race cars," Hofmann said.
Soon the orders began flying in.
"I'd come home and I'd work til 12 o'clock every night where I'd work on graphics and then be back in Grand Island at 8 in the morning," Hofmann said.
Those long nights didn't stall his passion. Instead, the orders fueled his drive.
"It just got to a point where a decision had to be made on if I wanted to stay doing drafting or if I wanted to go on my own," Hofmann said.
And, so Troy and his wife moved to Aurora.
"I thought I'd just be doing race cars and doing vinyl decals forever, but you see it turned into something way bigger, way more," Hofmann said.
Now he runs After Hours Grafix out of his home.
"The name obviously had it's meaning from being after hours from my real job," Hofmann said. "It kind of still stays true because I always work late and after the normal business hours."
Troy started making decals in his brother's basement years ago, now he's turned his hobby, into a booming business.
Troy wraps cars, trucks, and all sorts of vehicles. In fact, you've probably seen his work. Some of those include, Quaker Steak and Lube, 97.7 Big Country, Aurora Huskies Public School buses, Friesen Chevrolet, Perfect Circle irrigation, and South Central irrigation.
It's a five step process. He designs the logo. Prints the image. Then it's on to laminating. Finally, applying the decal.
"It's going to take a lot of sacrifice and a lot of hard work but if you're determined to make it work and you work hard at it, you can achieve anything you want," Hofmann said.
Troy has family that lives in Sutton. They escaped the storm damage after an EF-3 tornado struck the town earlier this month. But that storm damaged several pivots in the area. Troy is pitching in with the recovery efforts. He has a stack of 80 decals to apply to new pivots.
You can find After Hours Grafix on Facebook.
This is the latest edition of our new franchise, "Stories in the Heartland." If you have a story idea send Katie a message on Facebook or an email at Katie.Gauthier@khastv.com.