When Scott Sorenson opened Lil Scott's Customs in Sturtevant in 2002, his brother, Rusty, thought it was about time.
"He'd been talking about it for so long that I never really thought he'd do it," Rusty said. "But then one day I called him and he said he was packing up his tool box and told me where to meet him." Lil Scotts is located on Wisconsin Street in Sturtevant.
Scott, a former lead mechanic at a local Harley Davidson motorcycle dealership, builds custom motorcycles from scratch as well as does what is termed a "Harley Transformation." That means Harley owners bring in a completely stocked, fully operational machine and have it completely redone.
"We take it down to the studs so-to-speak," Scott said. "We put in new mechanicals, chrome finishes, new tires, and a brand new, custom paint job."
One of those projects sits in the front room of Scott's and Rusty's shop. Rusty termed it a Hank Williams because the paint is done in the spirit of country singer Hank Williams and features his logo of three railroad spikes.
"What makes this bike really special is the optical illusion on the front fender," Rusty said.
With a skull and three-barrel shot gun, at first the fender just looks like a great paint job. But then you move from side-to-side and you realize the shotgun barrel is following you.
"Isn't that cool?" Rusty asked rhetorically.
The paint is done by Jeff Vleiger of Jeff's Custom Painting in Franksville.
Most of the bikes that are done and on display in the front room are cool, but it's also pretty cool to see motorcycles that are in the back and under construction.
Rusty showed me one bike that barely resembled a motorcycle. The machine has wheels, handlebars, and some parts attached to it that look like they belong on a motorcycle. But it's on a frame and lacks a gas tank, fenders, a seat and all the finishing touches that give a Harley its unique profile.
"This is a 'Harley Transformation,'" he told me, pointing out what should have given it away.
The rider is an over-the-road trucker who brought his bike in, and Rusty told me that he posts updates on Facebook to keep his customer informed.
"I take pictures every few days and post them," he said. "I also have a lot of pictures of our finished bikes."
Scott told me his shop has taken a hit with the recession, but now that the worst seems to be over, people are willing to spend a little more money. It also doesn't hurt that the weather is starting to turn, and people seem to want to be outside more.
"We used to build nine or 10 bikes a year," he said. "We'll probably do only about three or four custom builds, but we do have a lot of other work now. Things are definitely picking up."