"So I'd get it and I'd put it in the store, but unfortunately the store was more of a museum; I wasn't getting paid," he says in spite of his heavy UPS trafficking. "People would just come in and see what I had, what I was selling, comparing prices, so eventually it worked against me to having that store open," he says jokingly. "So I got a little smarter and got rid of the store, bought a property that was big enough that I could put 12 cars into the building and have five different garages, all while working out of my home. "It allowed me to go out and shop for product so that I wouldn't be confined to a store seven days a week. So that worked out pretty good for a while but then economics changed with everything else," he laments. Mike was again going to have to adjust his business to keep up with the times.
The age of technology had caught up and surpassed many who were used to doing business with no more than a handshake, and Mike was no exception to these repercussions. "The internet was good and bad, it worked for me and it worked against me. Initially it went against me, due to the fact I was one of the pioneers in the field I'm in and as far as I know, the only young Latino lowrider at the time having a retail store other than Orlie's Hydraulics in Paramount, Steve's Obsolete in Gardena, Bob's Antiques of El Segundo and the Car Shop in Orange, California. There were people back in the day that had stores, but not to the caliber of products I had my store," says Mike. "It was filled with NOS (new old stock) parts and the knowledge that I have of the inventory," he adds. "So it was pretty ballsy (back then) to open up a store and do what I did." As technology changed, so did product availability, people were relying on computers, not parts shops to find what they needed, and undeterred, Mike weathered the storm. "Some others came and went, but I'm still here in the game," he says with confidence. "Since the event of 9/11 to the current day, until the latest venture I'm in with Fargo Automotive, I had been living off my savings and that's hard. It takes its toll on the family. Fortunately, I've been smart enough not to get rid of prized possessions and some of the cars, but now I'm working 16 hours a day at times," he sighs.