Taking on the Elements

The Faces of Jeep interview with Gillian Fournier co owner of Offroad Elements

 

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Why did you choose Jeep?”

Gillian: “I first chose to get a Jeep after my fiance’, Eric had his. He was always washing, waxing, wheeling, everything was Jeep Jeep Jeep. So I figured, why not?”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How many Jeeps have you owned?”

Gillian: “My current Jeep, a 2015 Jeep JK Sport is my second Jeep. My first was a 99 TJ.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How long have you been wheeling?”

Gillian: “To be honest, only since the late winter/early Spring of 2016. My first Jeep could never get into 4WD and really wasn’t the safest vehicle ever. Actually, it was downright sketchy to drive it at times. I spent the years prior sitting in the passenger seat, and learning from Eric.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Where have you traveled and wheeled? Where is your favorite place to wheel?”

Gillian: “Co-owning a business makes it pretty difficult to get out of the shop a lot. In my Jeep, I’ve only been as far west as Pennsylvania, to wheel at Rausch Creek. My favorite spot is definitely Jericho Mountain State Park in New Hampshire. The trails are extremely technical there and it’s always a blast. We have been 3 times in the past year and everyone comes out with damage every time. It’s a blessing and a curse. Lol”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How did Offroad Elements come to be?”

Gillian: “Once Eric bought his 2008 Jeep Wrangler JKU Sahara in 2011, he immediately started designing budget friendly aftermarket parts for his Jeep (grill inserts, limb risers, etc). We sold them online on eBay and Amazon mostly. With word of mouth from friends and family, we started to grow day by day. Within a few months, we decided to start selling more aftermarket products from more manufacturers. By 2013, we were so busy. Eric decided to quit his full time job in architectural engineering to pursue the company full time. In 2014, we agreed that it was time to pull me in full time as well (I had only been working nights with him before) and I left my teaching job to pursue my career here. Since then, we’ve grown immensely every year and look forward to what the future brings us. We pride ourselves in being a nation wide company with access to almost everything aftermarket and Jeep related. Our personal customer service, social media, and willingness to connect, I feel, has helped us to stand out above the rest.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are your future goals for Offroad Elements?”

Gillian: “We definitely look forward to seeing the company grow. We opened up a second bay last year for installs and are already booked out weeks in advance and getting cramped in the large space we have now. We want a much bigger place, add some more staff and watch the market grow. We have ambassadors representing us across the country and they have been doing an amazing job of getting our name out there more and we couldn’t have done it alone. We’re also looking forward to rebuilding our current Jeeps- we like to sell what we have experience with, which means constantly changing out parts and testing them on the trails. Mine is going through some big changes within the next few weeks and I cannot wait for the big reveal!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What tips do you have for new Jeepers?”

Gillian: “Ask as many questions as possible! Everyone started out at everything knowing nothing, remember that! Everyone has been in your position before- the newbie. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice, ask for a spot, ask how to do something. The dumbest questions are the ones that aren’t asked. You won’t move forward if you don’t put one foot in front of the other. Also, join clubs! It’s a great way to meet new people and, at least for us around her, get you access to private trails! All the ones I’ve visited so far have been really awesome and I’ve been able to check out new builds, restored builds, new parts on different Jeeps, etc.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How has Jeep inspired you?”

Gillian: “I definitely get a calming sense of being in the drivers seat. Whether it’s driving down the highway or hitting the trails, I’m always enjoying myself and the people around me. The community, as a whole, has pretty much restored my faith in humanity and I’ve met and friended so many amazing people.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Thank you Gillian for sharing your Jeep journey with us. We wish you and Offroad Elements all the best in the future.”

Photo from Gillian Fournier co owner of Offroad Elements, Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis & Answers from Gillian Fournier

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