By Kaylee Lindenmuth
MOREA - Throughout a monster truck racing career spanning over two decades, John Seasock, Frackville, often showed pride in his coal region roots.
"My whole racing career, I always bragged about living in the coal region. I love it here," said Seasock. "The people here are phenomenal, and I wanted to try to do something like this here."
"This" is a 12,000 square foot shop he and Jonas Kreitzer built on Firemans Road near the Schuylkill County Emergency Services Training Center, Black Rock Trucks and Equipment.
Two years in the making, the occupancy permit for the facility was received in the spring. The facility is lit by all LED light fixtures and, using a waste oil boiler fueled by used motor oil, it also has heated floors
The facility is multifaceted in its services, doing anything from buying and selling vehicles, to repair work, to custom work, and more. The facility is also a PennDOT inspection station, providing inspections for commercial vehicles, tractor trailers, and more, as well as enhanced inspections, for "street rods, and 'really cool' custom stuff," as Seasock said.
Along with Seasock, the shop as one full-time employee.
"I want us to be the flagship... but I also want to keep it personal," said Seasock. "Just like I did in racing, I want to be hands on, I want it to be personal, I want everybody that's here to be on the same page."
Seasock noted part of the motivation is to be a part of, and to give back to, the community.
"There's a lot of good shops in the area, and a lot of the guys really help out the people, and we just wanted to be a part of that little family of helping people out in the coal region," added Seasock
Seasock and Black Rock work with various other companies in the northern Schuylkill area, including Ken's Tire and Prosick's Garage.
"With the knowledge we have, if we don't know, we're smart enough to know people that do know. I was told one time that your net worth is based off your network," said Seasock.
Additionally, the company customizes "Black Rock edition" vehicles for Bob Weaver Auto in Pottsville, including a Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Speaking of the business, Seasock said "I'm really proud of the way it's coming out. It's still a work-in-progress -- we have fencing to put up, asphalting to do, and stuff like that, but all good things take time."
Though Seasock is a two-time Monster Jam racing champion, his focus with Black Rock has been on the business, with only a drawn depiction of his truck hanging in his office as the only acknowledgement of his racing career at the facility, though he noted he may bring thrones awarded for his championships to the shop for photo opportunities.
"A lot of people think it's cool that a monster truck champion is working on their truck or building their truck, but I didn't want to make it all about me because it's about the business," said Seasock. "in our meetings, we were talking, and they think I should do more with the monster truck stuff."
While Seasock may be humble about his success, you may still find Bigfoot in the parking lot.
"You don't know who you'll see in the parking lot," said Seasock.
Additionally, Seasock says they're "working on some pretty cool projects involving our racing stuff."
Recently, according to Seasock, the company has been swamped, backed up by a call midway through the interview from a customer inquiring about having a camper repaired.
Asked about his experiences with Black Rock, the customer, Jim Lykins, of Tamaqua, said "I've only been there for about six weeks, but I can't praise these two gentlemen enough, who have a very professional business, are very knowledgeable in mechanical and bodywork and everything and they're wonderful, and I'm going to continue to do all my work with them."
Moving forward, the facility has landscaping and paving work planned, as well as fencing the entire six acre property. They plan to offer motorcycle inspections, as well as impounding for local police.