By Jessica King
It’s been said the family that prays together, stays together. For the Borchardt clan, a more accurate saying would be the family that laughs together, stays in business.
Patriarch Ron Borchardt and his wife, Rosemary, opened Ron’s Tire & Brake on the western edge of Main Street on Valentine’s Day 1977.
On April 14, they will celebrate their 35th year in business with an “Open Shop Party.”
In 1977, the Borchardts had just one employee besides themselves, Dale Wade. He and Ron did it all — they made the sales, they did the work, and they collected the payment.
Today, two of the couple’s five daughters — Barrie and Bonnie — help manage the shop.
“I love working here,” said Barrie.
Across town, daughter Brooke manages Danny’s Truck and Auto, which the family purchased in 1992.
“Did I imagine it would be what it is today? I guess it was a goal in the end but it took off a little quicker than I thought,” said Ron.
The family openly jokes about how ornery Ron and his mini-me Bonnie are, and how laughter has played a role in their success.
“How do you think you reach 35 years,” joked Rosemary. “You have to laugh or you kill the other person.”
Prior to opening the business, Ron had plenty of experience in the tire industry, having worked for both Goodyear Tire Co. in National City and BFGoodrich in Lemon Grove.
At the time he decided to go into business for himself, his father told Ron he was nuts to give up good steady work. But Ron was 37, had young children and a wife and thought to himself how much longer could he be the one laying under a vehicle.
In the early days, Rosemary remembers sitting around the shop and getting excited if a car slowed down. Unfortunately, back then they often just stopped in for directions, she laughed.
She also fondly remembers her twin girls, Barrie and Brooke, sitting on the office floor playing with junk mail.
“If I have to do it today with all the red tape out there, there ain’t no way,” Ron said. “I couldn’t afford to do it.”
The family briefly expanded into Escondido with a second tire and brake shop but closed it after coming to the realization it just wasn’t for them. Ron said the red tape in the city and the proximity from home and family he could trust just wasn’t worth it.
“It’s very hard to find people to always do things the way you want them to be done,” he said. “If it weren’t for my daughters, truth be told, I probably would’ve retired a long time ago.”
Over the years, the Borchardts played an active role in the community of Ramona, sponsoring about two dozen local sports teams, mostly youth soccer and softball. Ron has also supported about twice as many 4-H and Future Farmers of America students, helping to buy animals to show at fairs.
“You always have someone coming in asking for money to do this or that and I think what I thought was, if these kids are taking the time to raise these animals rather than sit on a street corner or whatever, then that was just a worthwhile thing to do and a good benefit to us all because maybe they’ll use the experience to go onto college and do something good with their lives later on,” said Ron.
At the end of the day, being in business for yourself is a lot of hard work, a lot of time, a lot of headache and a lot of grief, but Ron said he wouldn’t have it any other way.
In addition to laughter, loyal customers have helped the Borchardts stay in business so long.
“We’ve got customers who have been coming into us since we opened and they’re still coming,” said Barrie.
“We have very good customers,” added Ron.
The “Open Shop Party” planned for April 14, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., will serve as a thank you to customers, both new and old.
The public is invited to stop by the shop at 2560 Main St. for free hot dogs, sodas, music, a car show, and prizes. Free opportunity drawing tickets are already being given away at the shop’s front counter for 35 prizes that will be given out the day of the party — one for every year in business.
Prizes include new tires, struts, alignment and oil change services, a flat screen TV, and a Kindle Fire.
The party is scheduled for April 14 instead of the shop’s true Feb. 14 anniversary date in the hopes of better weather.