Owner of Turbo Knights Auto Shop gets boost to expand in Whitehaven

Muhsen Najdawi’s love for cars has taken him from building hot-rods in the Middle East to opening the Turbo Knights auto shop in Whitehaven.

Turbo Knights opened in 2017 and offers a full menu of services, with an emphasis on custom work, and performance modifications.

“We work on cars because we love cars. And, thank God, we have a big customer base for our performance, customization, and fabrication work,” said Najdawi.

“You can even compare it to the dealer,” he said. “We deliver a job better than the dealer. Because we have the love.”
Ben Witherspoon works on customized cars at Turbo Kings in Whitehaven.

Thanks to his passion, hard work, and a $12,000 Inner City Economic Development loan from the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis & Shelby County, 2021 is looking bright for Najdawi and Turbo Knights. He has a full-time and part-time employee, and by the end of March, he'll have a total of four employees.

Turbo Knights is just the latest Whitehaven business to benefit from the EDGE Inner City Development loan program. EDGE is the economic development arm for Memphis and Shelby County.

Related: This Whitehaven entrepreneur is bringing a new hair studio to his community with help of EDGE loan.

“EDGE was created in 2011 with the goal of utilizing government programs to encourage large-scale office and commercial development to come into the city and the county and create jobs in the process,” said Charles Vance, EDGE's Director of Marketing and Communications.

But EDGE has expanded its mission.

“It's grown to include more of a focus on neighborhood revitalization and small business growth,” said Vance.

“We actually added that to our strategic plan in 2016, which outlined five goals, including accelerating neighborhood revitalization, and the bolstering of small business expansion along with industrial development, using the port as part of economic development and fostering collaboration among all the entities in the city,” Vance said.

Turbo Knights is just the latest Whitehaven business to benefit from the EDGE Inner City Development loan program.
To qualify for assistance from EDGE, a business first has to be located in one of the New Markets Tax Credit Eligible Tracks. In addition, gross receipts cannot exceed $750,000 and personal income needs to be $200,000 a year, Vance said. Businesses must also be up to date on all local and county taxes or have a payment plan.

“And you know, we do give preference to projects that, of course, directly benefit the neighborhood,” he said.

Najdawi’s passion for cars is undeniable.

“To work on a car is not a job for us,” said Najdawi. "We love working on cars. We can build all kinds of toys. We are only limited by our imagination.”

And his fascination with cars started early.

“Cars for me was a hobby,” said Najdawi. “So I was a drifter. When I was young I was one of the best ones in Jordan. And I built my cars by myself.”
Muhsen "Moe" Najdawi works on customized cars at Turbo Kings in Whitehaven.

As for his favorite cars of all time? “Skyline, any Mercedes, and a Mustang Fastback,” Najdawi said.

Najdawi’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is simple.

“If you love something, no matter how hard you think it is going to get, you’ve got to stick with it,” he said.

His passion for Memphis is also undeniable. He found himself here after following his family. His mother was getting older and needed some assistance, so he came to visit and ended up staying.

 

“I do a lot of traveling around the world and I see a lot of cities, a lot of places.,” said Najdawi. “But I can tell you something now. Whenever I'm near the bridge, and I see Memphis, I just feel it in my heart man,” he said.

Read more articles by Chris Jones.

Chris Jones is an attorney, community and non-profit strategist, and freelance writer.  Originally from Starkville, Mississippi, Chris has lived in Memphis for over 25 years.  In his spare time, he loves traveling, learning about history and society, and playing the guitar.
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