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Meet Kamran Tom Zarifpour of Automan & Smog in South Gate

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kamran Tom Zarifpour.

Kamran Tom, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I born in IRAN and after 1979 revolution, I moved to England and finish my college at Wilsdon College of technology as car engineering degree. As my family moved to LA and stayed, I decided to join them here. I started with my cousin at Sun Valley and learn the business from him. 1984 my partners and me we purchased this gas station. It was a dead place with closed mechanic shop. We worked hard and I remember working every day from 6 am to 9 pm. Our hard work answered and by giving very good and friendly service more and more customers start coming to us. Our area was an industrial and a lot of factories and companies surrounded us.

We come to think why we do not invite them to use our service. We found out the owners had a lot of fuel theft in their business. The day I started to knock their doors and insure them we will watch their interest and make sure all the money they pay will go to the tanks of their trucks. Before we know, 22 companies signed with us and business become good. We had a market too, thanks to my late partner RIP he filled it up with all kinds of merchandise and all the company workers were buying them. Smog check was another boost to our business and made our corner very busy.

Few years later, we purchase next door which was a BAR and year after with a new partner, we open a car dealer not far from us. On 1988 with the help of TEXACO gas, we rebuild our gas station by attaching the next door and made a dream center station had 16 fuel point and 12 cars can fill up at the same time, 3000 sqft market and three franchise food concept in it (SUBWAY, TCBY FROZEN YOGURT, MAMA ILLARDO PIZZA). At the same time 3000 sqft mechanic shop with two smog machines. It was a crazy project and I bite more than I could shew. Not enough good help and high bank payment and new big competitor just open at the next block all exhausted me so much which put me in light depression.

The only good news came to me at that time was my wife got pregnant. That another story by itself. I was working so hard but was look like you just put water in a bucket with holes. Few years with hard work and adjustments, we could stay float and life got easier. I and one friend bought an Auto part business and left him to manage it. This was another loss too. 2008 to 2010, everything got upside down. My late partner RIP past away and I started to do the books too then I found we weren’t making money at all, the Auto part was losing big time and I had to let my friend go and sold the place to one guy to pay me monthly payment.

I bring the gas station for sale but my partner who was managed the car dealer come against it. That was so suspicious so I audit the books and found he was stealing big time that why he was against selling. Before I know my life like a domino effect was going down. Gas station got audited and had to pay a lot of money, Auto part guy stop paying and after few months took everything and file bankruptcy, car dealer partner open another place and moving the cars and money to new place front of me I had to bring a law suit against him. Gas station foreclosed as we were fighting. For a sudden, I found myself going to be a homeless. In my heart, I knew I didn’t do anything wrong and I always was truthful and honest man and God don’t let me down.

Three years ago, I missed the gas station and went to see it and put gas. The new owner did not open the mechanic shop and they only concentrate to gas and market. The next day I started calling and after a couple of months, I could lease the shop and start working here again. 37 years been in the neighborhood hood a lot of people know you. They are saying they are very happy to see me back and I am very happy to be here back too. Now I only have one thing to manage and now we are a busy shop here. I learned life going and going too fast so is better to be kind and honest and treat people good because you never know what will happen in future. Make story short. I ended up winning the court case against him. As car business going down

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My big challenge in my life is focusing on one project for long time. I need the motivation to make things happen and growth is my answer. Now after all these happened try to passion myself to focus on what I am doing and do not jump.

Automan & Smog – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Here we have a full mechanic shop and also we do Smog check too. People know us as an honest and knowledgeable shop which gives good service and good warranty. They know when they come here, they will welcome with a smile and kind attitude. A lot of second and even 3rd generations customers come to my place. They know they will be treated fairly and honestly. I have a lot of recommended by mouth customers.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success is different for everybody. Some people see it in making money some people see in happy family some people see it have good kids. I see success in happy and comfortable life.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 5651 E Imperial Hwy South Gate CA 90280
  • Phone: 562-244-2818

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