By Jessica King
A fifth generation Ramonan and his wife are the proud new owners of Eiler Tire & Brake.
Jake Harris and his wife, Leah, both 27, recently bought the automotive shop at 1743 Main St. from Mark Song, who purchased the decades-old shop from one of its original owners, Dale Eiler, in July 2008. The shop opened in the late 1980s as Eiler Brothers and was renamed Eiler Tire & Brake when Dale Eiler bought out his brother in 1996.
Though Harris recently left his job as fleet technician with the county of San Diego to own and operate Eiler Tire &
Brake, he is by no means a stranger to the business.
Harris, an ASE certified mechanic, worked for Eiler from May 2004 to May 2008 and for Song from January 2011 to last September.
“I’ve always wanted to own my own business and the opportunity was finally here,” said Harris, who hopes to one day expand the shop should the space next door become available.
“We’re not going to change the name or anything like that, at least not right away,” Harris said. “But expanding is one thing I’d like to do, to take over the entire building here.”
The business is in the Main Street Auto Service Center at the corner of Main and Day streets. The other half of the center is occupied by Prestige Collision Center.
Harris’ other plans for the business include getting it involved with the community. He said he would like to sponsor a local youth sports team and to partake in activities and programs through the Ramona Chamber of Commerce.
“Absolutely. We’re definitely interested in being part of the community,” added Leah. “We’ve just turned our paperwork in to the chamber and are planning to be as involved as we can.”
And, she said, “We do do more than just tires and brakes. I don’t think a lot of people know that.”
The shop offers a full range of automotive services, including shocks, struts, suspension, alignments, oil changes and transmission work.
“It’s easy for people to get what they need out of town,” said Leah. “A lot of us work down the hill and can go pretty much anywhere … but if we can support the community and the community can support us, it’ll be good for everyone and good for Ramona.”
In addition to moral support, Leah, a 2012 National University business degree graduate, helps her husband with the books when she’s not busy with her career as an office technician and procurement specialist with Cal Fire in Rancho San Diego.
The couple — a true homegrown pairing — has been together for 10 years and married for five, but they’ve known each other since grade school.
They met around the third grade when their mothers worked yard duty together at Barnett Elementary and became best friends.
Priscilla O’Leary, Leah’s mom, said both families are excited for the couple.
“They’re just both very hard working, and because of that I know they’ll be successful,” she said.