By Susan Landry
Jimmy Grey started building houses with his father as soon as his hands could properly hold the tools. He completed his first electrical wiring job at 13.
When Grey’s father died four years ago, he decided it was time to do some soul searching. “I was just trying to figure myself out after that, after my rock left my life,” he says.
Grey quit his job in sales to travel in Thailand and Bali. After returning to Santa Cruz, he purchased his first van, a 2014 ProMaster, and set off to explore the country with partner Bez Stone and her two children.
Now, the 37-year-old craftsman is combining his flair for construction with a passion for adventure in the grand opening of a full-service van-conversion business, Levity Vans. Considering operations have been underway for about a year now, the grand opening on Saturday, July 19, was really more of a coming out party. “It feels like a declaration. It’s us saying, ‘We’re here, we’re ready, and we know what we’re doing,” says Stone, who is a partner in the business.
The 17th Avenue shop specializes in upgrading ProMaster, Transit and Sprinter cargo vans into full-fledged adventure vehicles complete with tailored kitchens, rooftops decks, customized windows and whatever else customers need to feel at home on the road. “Lots of companies make cookie-cutter RV-type vans, which are great, but I like Jimmy’s style because he really gets to know who people are and what they want, so they can have things like that special little perch for their cat, which more people have wanted than you might suspect,” Stone says.
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