Reyes opens business after working for others for decades

Oscar Reyes works on the interior of a vintage pickup. Sentinel photo/Jessica King
Oscar Reyes works on the interior of a vintage pickup. Sentinel photo/Jessica King

By Jessica King

Oscar Reyes has been restoring the interiors of automobiles for three decades. From floorboards to seats and everything in between, Reyes takes pride in his craftsmanship, which he learned from his father.

“My family has been doing this for a long time,” he said. “It’s in the blood.”

Until earlier this year, Reyes worked for other people and tinkered with independent jobs out of his home garage in Ramona.

In July that changed as Reyes and his wife, Gricelda, opened Escondido Custom Upholstery at 520 N. Quince St. Ramona residents for eight years with four children in Ramona schools, they wanted to open their shop in Ramona.

They looked for an affordable space that was about 1,500 to 2,000 square feet with decent visibility in the community. Unfortunately, said Reyes, they couldn’t find what they were looking for and chose to open in Escondido to save about 25 percent in monthly rent with greater visibility.

“We love Ramona,” Gricelda said. “Unfortunately, we had to have the business in Escondido but we’re still a local Ramona business, too.”

Reyes will work on boats and furniture, but his specialty is European and American classic automobiles. He said there’s a market for it in Ramona, where he has customers.

For Ramona residents who aren’t quite sold on going “down the hill” to check out the new shop, Reyes said he will meet with people in Ramona on his way into work in the mornings or on his way home in the evenings to provide quotes and other general information.

Although price and location were a big consideration in the couple’s decision not to open in Ramona, Reyes also appreciates the other auto restoration businesses already established in Escondido, saying he is getting referrals for the interior work from some of them.

All work at Escondido Custom Upholstery is done by Reyes, who said he strives for perfection, not just customer satisfaction.

“I am the sole proprietor with no employees, and all the work is done by me,” he said. “Every project is tailor-made...and the attention to detail turns any project into a one of a kind.”

Escondido Custom Upholstery is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays.

   
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