BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Hundreds of vendors were setting up at the Coast Coliseum on Wednesday, preparing for Cruisin’ the Coast’s three-day swap meet.
The event is a paradise for car lovers who come seeking unique finds, like Tony Giametta’s halo headlights made especially for vintage cars. He invented the lights while rebuilding a 1968 Ford Mustang coupe with his son. The first time they took the car out for a Cruise In, it was the headlights that got all the attention.
“We brought the car, and the people started flocking around my car wanting to know where I got the headlights. I told them, look, I made them, and they would just absolutely not believe me that I made them," he said.
In 2011, he made some to sell at a Cruisin’ the Coast swap meet.
“We did $3,500 worth of business. Not a lot, but we thought we were on to something," Giametta said.
They were. In fact, it’s how Redline Lumtronix got its start. The Ocean Springs company now has a 4,000-square-foot facility, nine employees, and sells two types of patented headlights worldwide.
“It was a wild ride because when we started showing our stuff off, different people, car clubs and car companies started asking for our products, and we were like wow, this is great,” Giametta said.
Giametta’s invention has gained national attention, getting featured on several TV shows, magazines and the radio.
Now, as he prepares for his ninth swap meet, he can’t help but think of his humble beginnings.
“Cruisin’ the Coast was our big success the first year," he said. "It launched our company the first year. So I’ve got to come to Cruisin’ year after year.”
Year after year he comes, hoping it’ll be another cruise into success.
Shoppers can find Redline Lumtronix and hundreds of other vendors when the swap meet kicks off Thursday. It runs every day through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.