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What Are the Former Super Shops Employees Doing Now?

bigdoggarage11For me, a cool by-product of launching this site has been re-connecting with so many former employees and customers, friends, manufacturers and such. Last weekend my fiancé, Janel, and I hung out with Dave Nehem and his wife  at the Sand Sports Super Show in Costa Mesa, California. I’ve talked with Jorge Martinez, Tony Garavetto and Robbie Redner by telephone and even had a 4 1/2 hour conversation with Harry Eberlin! I hadn’t spoken with him since December 5, 1985 but it was like we had spoken yesterday! I had dinner with Russ Wimberly a few months ago and a long telephone conversation with Greg Reinarts a few months ago. I keep in touch with Jim Patterson on a regular basis but had occasion to spend about 40 hours with him in my capacity as a real estate broker while he was scouting for locations in the Phoenix area for an off-road chain he was working with. During the time I was with Jimmy several former Super Shops employees called him such as Bruce Banker, Susan Hamm, Jim Jackson, Pat Emmett, Mike Fermoil and Dean LaFlam. I saw Les Davidson (see inset) last January at my favorite breakfast spot in North Scottsdale. He was in town for the classic car auctions and looks exactly the same–for better or worse! LOL!!

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Of course, I keep in touch with dozens of former employees through Facebook and e-mail and look forward to reading your posts in our new forum section.

39 Comments

  1. Hello, my name is AL Kamenski. I was an employee of store #118. I transferred to Long Beach #007, the store was doomed to close after not recovering from the riots. I inspired the manager and employees, we filled the walls with parts and within 3 months that store hit #2 on the stores sales list. I am proud to say I helped save #007.
    Working for SSI was the most exciting working experience I ever had.
    Most of what I learned at SSI helped me be successful in every position I’ve ever had.

  2. I worked under Scott Schoonover in store 002 Riverside, Ca from 88-89 Jorge Martinez & Bruce Banker were our divisional reps I can’t remember the guys I worked with names other than Dave who was our asst and his roommate I think was Robbie. I loved that job those guys were like family. I wish I would have never lost touch.
    Bruce and Jorge promoted me from tires to the counter after I sold 4 comp 9000’s while still working in the shop (playin with sparky).
    I have worked for new car dealerships since and now work for Nissan corporation. No job has ever given me the fulfillment as those days in the late 80’s selling performance parts and tons of tires and wheels.
    I wish you all the best and I will be ordering t-shirts since of course mine have been long gone.

  3. Hey Todd, so great to see you are doing well. I agree with you. Super Shops was such a formidable time in our lives. My daughter and her husband own a modern version of Super Shops (sort of) in Victorville, Ca. It’s interesting to see her doing what her Dad did years ago. On the flip side, when I talk to people about Super Shops and how huge it was back then, people just don’t understand and unless you lived it, it’s very complicated to explain. I am now retired Life is good, but it was sure great back then.

    Best Regards
    Jorge Martinez

    • Jorge,
      Steve Trudeau was asking where you are, cant remember the last time I seen ya. Are you on Facebook?
      Randy Robinson, Steve Trudeau, John Barker and a few others are on there.

    • Jorge Martinez…. Stop in to the Discount Tire Centers in Redlands Ca one day…. You may just find someone you trained in this industry…. Steve

  4. Bob Anderson.
    Started out working the Night Shift at the San Bernardino Warehouse pulling parts and loading trucks… Went to days as a local delivery driver delivering to the SoCAL stores. Soon after I got my CDL and delivered western states and ran the warehouse run between San Bernardino, Dallas and Jacksonville. 1984-1990. Employee #1707

  5. Steve Trudeau! How the heck are you? I hope good. Unfortunately I do have a Facebook page. Will definitely stop by to see you next time I am in the area for a Rosie’s Burrito! Hope life is treating you good!

    Jorge

  6. Dean Chartraw! How ya doing man! Long time no see to say the least. Hope life is treating you well! I am retired living in Apple Valley with the Jack Rabbits and Rattle Snakes. Life is great…. Think about Super Shops and all the great people I worked with all the time.

    Jorge

  7. …Checking in.

  8. My late brother, Glen Ward, worked for Harry at the san bernardino store in the summer of 1969. After his army service, he worked there briefly,leaving to “make big bucks” at Eagle Mountain Iron Mine. Later, he worked at the pomona & Garden grovestores about 1977-’78. I was often a customer of the stores from ’75 thru ’98. I bought a set of headers and chrome valve covers for my big block pickup at the salem OR store on its’ lastday in 1998. Anyway, what I wanted to say was, my brother always said it was the best work enviornment he ever knew, and that Harry treated him like a friend, not an employee. (he also worked at the warehouse for a time I believe) My brother struggled after service in Viet Nam, the emotional scars of combat affected all his interactions for the remainder of his life, work, family, friends, all sufferred. If Harry is still out there, I hope he sees this, for he & Supershops made my brothers’ life a little better. I can’t recall names, but I know there were a number of Supershops Employees my brother remembered fondly ’til the end of his life. I still miss the stores.

  9. Hello All, I was a longtime customer when I saw a Help Wanted Ad @ store #009 Van Nuys back in 1989. Applied and I was hired by Dino Nussbaum. Although I had many run-ins with Dino, we settled our differences once I left the company in January 1990. Awesome place, awesome people to work for. I remember some of my team members like Jeff Herndon, Luis Sandoval, Nick and Adrian. They all shared their sales knowledge with me since it was my first sales job ever. Anyways, it was cool to find this website. Keep up-up the good work. P.S.- I recall ruining Brian Setzer’s wheel from his ‘Cool Cat’ Jaguar during my tire shop training.

  10. I worked at Super Shops Van Nuys, that’s whare my automotive career started and my love for American Muscle Cars. It was cool working there, I still remember the red book in hand when helping a customers with tire and rims. Since it closed march 7,1998, i have worked for 4 Wheel Parts, P.A.W.=Performance Auto Warehouse(yes the competition),Performance products and now Pep Boys Speed Shop, yes some stores have a Speed Shop section that caters to performance customers. Not the same as SSI, but it is getting bigger & better. FYI: still got my name tag and black shirts
    with SSI logo. employee g439

  11. I was an employee at the Mundelien and Mt.Prospect Il stores from 1989-1993 I loved that place the people and the experience I gained there I would love to find some of the old crew

  12. I’ll start out by saying..I was never a “Super Shops” employee…But..I worked (?) with Harry at the old “San Bernardino Racing Equipment” shop on Baseline, pre “Super Shops” day’s, around the time he was in transition from the service and just getting started..
    I’ll alway’s remember Harry working seven day week’s, twelve hour day’s behind the counter. Well maybe taking a couple of hour’s off to go to the drag’s at Riverside to try to hustle up a new customer..But then back to the shop.. Alway’s able to grin and alway’s trying to make a deal.. I can hear him say, if I can only just sell four more pair’s of American mag’s I’ll be able to get a better price break..
    Good memories, good laugh’s setting around the shop at night eating too many taco’s..Still into Hot Rod’s and lettering and striping after all these year’s.. Ron Muller

  13. Hey Pablo villarino I also remember the store on Van Nuys blvd when I was a kid growing up in the late 70s I kind of made that my summer hang out all the guys that worked there was great taught me a lot about the store and let me help put parts away . Pretty soon they gave me a shirt and started letting me help customers . It was like that for about 2 or 3 summers all I wanted for pay was place to hang out I thought that place was fun I loved hot rods and it was place I can dream about building my own I built many cars in my mind while I was there . Best fun I had they invited me to go watch the super shop funny car at the drag races . I wish I knew what some of them guys are up to now . Bummer we don’t have them shops know more

    • Hello Steve, #009 was a cool place to hang out, you never knew who would stop by to have some fresh tires dropped on their cool cars. I remember Brian Setzer from Stray Cats and how I ruined his 2K Jaguar wheel. A lot a celebs would also check-in and some hot chicks like the one time Brandi Brandt was there!

  14. Hi all I worked at two stores, the first one 003 and then went to 001 and worked with Scott over there and learned so much from him. I lived in Victorville for years and now in hemet……

  15. Holy Smokes!
    Been a couple years since I’ve heard the names of a few of you here.
    Sorry to hear of Harry’s Passing yesterday.
    I’m on Facebook and am friends with a few of the SS family there.
    Went back to school and have been doing Physical Therapy for the last 16 years of so.
    Great to check in here, and I’ll be getting some shirts soon!
    Just in a little bigger size now. 😉
    #1186.

  16. A276 checking in. Stores 003, 029, 045 and 150. Sorry to hear about Harry.

  17. I started with SuperShops in 1977 at the Riverside store #002 Jack Young was the manager and Tommy Valdez was the ast. I worked my way up to store manager by 79 then was transferred to the new Riverside store on Merrill Ave. I was there another 3 years then went to the San Bernardino warehouse and became the Inventory Manager for the warehouse and all the stores in the Western U.S. When everything was coming to an end I left and worked for Chaparral MotorSports in San Bernardino for 15 years.

  18. Hi I don’t know if this is still going on. I just found out about this but hey what the heck! So my dad Ernie Nunes was a Super Shops employee in Oxnard back in the day and I figured it’d be nice to toss his name in here. 🙂 He owns and runs a shop of his own now in Thousand oaks called CARS Etc if you want to check it out on Facebook. He’s been getting real nostalgic so a. Anyway Super Shops sounded awesome and it sucks it went out of business

    • Cassie, Did your dad also work in the Texas Warehouse?

  19. Best job ever, I learned so much from S.S,
    I have never forgotten the lessons I learned from Jimmy,Woody,Russell,Bruce,Etc..and as long as I have my mind and ability to succeed,I will never be down and out.
    Sad to hear about Harry, I am from Redlands and I will always cherish the time I had working there.It gave me the opportunity to move to San Diego for over 20 years. And not to mention all the friends I made while working there. And all of you that ever knew men I have never forgotten any of you.

  20. I was emp. #3901, I work in three stores, Huntsville Al. Birmingham Al and Montgomery Al as store manager. It really was a great job and a bunch of great people, some of whom I still se today.
    Managers Meetings in Reno Nevada were a blast. Getting to visit Erson Cams/ Mallory Electronics.

    Harry sold the hubcaps off his car to have gas money to get to the place where he loaded up to go to work on the Alaska Pipeline. That is where he got the start up money for Super Shops. He rented a building where they used to sell fencing, they didn’t move out when they said they would so Harry sold parts out of the trunk of his car.

    We had a cheer we did after our morning meetings,
    Super Shops,
    Super Shops,
    We’re Number One,
    Super Shops
    Super Shops
    Second to none.

    I still have all my hat pins from all the different companies.

    Rest in peace Harry, you touch a lot of lives.
    Micky Christian #3901

  21. Employee # 1427. Worked at the last vegas store in the mid 80’s. Great job. Great people.

  22. I worked in the Super Shops location in Blue Springs Missouri for a couple years. I look back at how much I learned not only about the obvious things, building cars and trucks to realize their own identity but also to encourage people to stop at yellow traffic lights so you could sit there listening to, and feeling your new Erson Cam rattling away through the new Hooker headers. Erson gear drives were the big deal of the time, Edelbrock water injection, B&M blower drive systems. I loved it all and could not get enough of that life.
    Now let me tell you what has remained with me throughout my post Super Shops life. I learned about educating my customers and making sure they didn’t get back to their shops or home workshops only to find they forgot something…. “One Liners” that term has always stuck with me, and I use that selling strategy to this day. If you sell a new Holley carb, make sure they are advised about air filters, banjo fittings, gaskets, inform them about new intake manifolds, new 12 point manifold fasteners. Of course with the new manifold opened the door to new chrome thermostat housings, thermostats. It went on and on, you were given the opportunity to advise customers of complete systems long before “Packaged systems” and crate motors were commonly available.
    I remember customers getting a kick out of the Unilite distributer that ever store displayed to show the power of the electrical system.
    The stores were individual in their staffs but consistency was amazingly attained long before the internet made communication so much easier. I could go to the Shawnee location to fill in if they were short staffed and went in with the confidence that I could fit right in because my store was run the same way.
    I also remember the story we were told about Harry Eberlin, the story of him going into Lamborghini dealerships dressed in blue jeans and a t shirt asking if he could use their bathroom and how his appearance usually was met with the answer, NO we have no public bathrooms. The Lamborghini dealer that allowed him to use the bathroom despite his appearance was rewarded with the sale of a new Lamborghini.
    The message was so simple and a message that I respect to this day, do not judge a person by how they look, the appearance they give off, treat everyone with respect and dignity equally. I think that was my most treasured memory because using that experience consistently has made me a better person, a better company representative and opened many doors for me.
    My days working in the shop, mounting and balancing 35″ BFG Mud Terrains during the heat of summer, most days sweating it out in the shop all day long were hard and miserable but Super Shops had an incredible work ethic, start from the bottom and reward those that worked hard.
    I am very proud that my work history includes being a member of Super Shops family. The old building is gone now but I still go by every once and a while and smile everytime when I think of all the smokey burn offs we all used to do!
    Thank you Harry Eberlin, I never met you but you gave me life skills that no school ever came close to doing!!!

  23. Hi

    Im Steve I worked at the Richardson Texas location with Kenny Leacock, Gary Forsite and Scott Baker and our number one salesman Brett the asshole Midget.

    There was also a guy that was Kennys buddy who had a 70s corvette that was blue and decked out.

    Was truly a experience everyday at work.

    • I think that was my Vette, Blue 1982,

  24. Sitting around and tweeking on our own hotrods and looking at everyone else and saying to our selves what in the heck is going on?

  25. Hello, Employee # 1551 – I started SSI when they opened # 047 Memphis Tenn under Brett Latter, left there went to #054 Oklahoma City, # 034 Richardson TX # 069 Indianapolis IN, # Think #51,52 Buckner TX, then #034 Richardson TX, last stop #150 Tustin CA, then left the company, I learned allot working for SSI and met allot of good friends to this day, I remember meeting Harry at my first store Memphis, this company had a Presence and a way that worked, never have I experienced over 100 people waiting in line with numbers to be helped out on a Saturday afternoon and we had RHS Racing Head Service 1.5 miles down the street, Magic, Truly Magic, Thank you Harry for the experiences and teaching me the things SSI did, I use today, Rest in peace

    • Hey Paul, I worked at 034 while you were (briefly) there…at the time you had the 82 Vette and a beater maroon ’77? Remember those days well…guys like Randy Ceplina, Lonnie Forniglia, Cameron Smoot, Terry “buy it today” O’neill, Wes from Houston, Ryan from Texarkana, Ron Wardell, Jeff Ames and others

  26. Super shops Charleston, sc, early to mid 90’s. I still dream about working at that shop. Kind of always wanted to reopen a shop just like it. Ended up in the custom business and starting my own. Currently, 20 years later, I’m a restoration tech (or properly named, a”coach builder”). I also teach autobody at my local community college, and do contact work for other shops. Met my wife at super shops, been married 21 years.

  27. Hello everybody,

    I worked at SSI for 6 years (emp#1156). I started in warehouse in 1983 out of high school pulling parts. Then made the main counters for the new stores. Then I transferred to graveyard computer department. I then went to Texas to run the computer system in that warehouse. I roomed with Kenny for a while and then later Kenny roomed with me. After awhile I moved back to San Bernardino where I was repairing the computer terminals and equipment. I left SSI in 1989. I am now living in Anaheim CA working as a nursing home administrator and coaching basketball at the local YMCA.

  28. Glad to see Super Shops is making a come back. Sorry to hear about Harry I worked at 4 different stores in Illinois back in the early to mid 90’s started mounting tires and left as an assistant manager even ranked 3rd in sales for almost 4 months I still have my grand slams framed hanging in my garage this was my first real job and it’s where my love for custom cars was born… Brings back good memories best of luck

  29. I was employee #9211, San Jose, CA store #16 1989-1993. I started busting tires just like everybody else, but that lasted 1 month because I was selling more parts from the shop than the counter salesperson so they switched us and I never looked back…. My best work memories are from Super Shops, I thought “this was a job”? Helping people build hot rods and race cars? I learned many a skills whether it was socially, business, work ethics, customer service, technical, racing. I worked with many great people, Mike Bales, Mike Travers, Steve Whipple “woody” (only guy that had Boyd’s wheels on a BMW) Courtney Maxwell, John Dell to name a few. Looking back, we had a great system to sell more parts and be rewarded, Top 100 contest, grand slam club, 10,20,30,40,50 liners… I still have the grand slam black jacket and a copy of hitting the #1 salesperson in the contest, to which I got treated to dinner as Mike, my manager said “when you hit #1, I’m buying dinner wherever you want”. This is the same person that showed me how to cut and tailor my first Mallory ignition wire set. I have also helped many a customer that became good friends also, and I was one of a few Asians in the car scene that had a muscle car at that time. Or actually a few cars, 65 Chevelle, 67 Chevelle x2, 67 el Camino… I do believe that if Super Shops still existed, I would be there…. But alas, they are not, and so I digress… But I do remember, so if anybody out there does too, hit me up! And remember, “put the part in the customers hands and put your hands behind your back”…..

  30. It is sad that he passed……But the bottom line is while a bunch of us learned tons working there and had fun. Harry Eberlin in the end (as in the 1990″s was a real estate scam artist) HRE development bilked the company dry and lined his pockets.

  31. Hey Keith Neyman,
    Know the facts before you shoot off your mouth. It’s idiots like you that soil the reputation of a man who almost by himself built the high performance industry. How dare you even think to criticize a man like Harry. You have no proof, you probably never met him, and unless you can back up your claims with facts (you can’t) shut your pie hole.
    I knew him for 46 years, worked for him for 8, hung with him these last 6 years until his death, and at one time made sure all you guys felt “secure.”
    Guess you failed the “POA” tests regarding people.
    Anyway-shut up!
    Robbie Redner

  32. Flash, Woody, Mottsty, Waldo (burgers), Porkchop,and all you other dweebs who worked at the Super Shops Garden Grove Racing Equipment store back in the 70’s – its Randog here to say hey! Remember my baaaaad 57 Chevy? Miss you guys. Best time of my life was working there in 75-78+/-. Hope your all doing well! – Randog

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