Mike Stevenson

Owner of Import Automotive

Great prices and excellent customer service. If you have a foreign car, they won't be beat.

Eupeterson Lewis Avatar
Eupeterson Lewis

Over 40 Years of Experience in Loma Linda, CA

How It All Started

I started Import Automotive during our nation’s bi-centennial year…1976. I did it all myself with a lot of encouragement and just a little financial help from my parents.

I was 23 years old and rented an old vacant gas station building in Redlands, CA. for $500 per month. I didn't know the first thing about running a business but I was pretty good with a wrench and I was comfortable dealing with people. I have always been a people person and really enjoy that part of the business. My goal was to provide better service to my customers than anyone else in the area, (especially the new car dealer).

Foreign cars always intrigued me. I found them more interesting and challenging to work on. So, I decided to specialize in imports and named my business Import Automotive. In 1976 this was a real business advantage. There were very few independent shops that would even touch an import car. Customers were relieved to finally have a dealership alternative.

My mom had experience as a bookkeeper and was working as a school secretary so she had a good basic understanding of how to run a business and keep the books. She did all the running around to get a business license, resale permit, and various other permits, etc. My dad and I went to a tool wholesaler and bought some basic shop equipment to get me started.

We started with just $9000. That covered the first and last months rent, permits & fees, equipment & tools, insurance and a small stock of parts. Mom and I each took out a loan for $3500 plus about a $1000 from each of our savings. I made the payments on both loans and paid my mom back, (eventually).

So...on June 16, 1976, Import Automotive was officially open for business! As I remember, I didn't get my first customer until the next day and I can still remember that car, a 1973 Datsun 610 station wagon.

So here I am, years later and still providing superior service to my customers. I am very fortunate to have an exceptional crew and great loyal customers. I still enjoy this business!

Thank you all for 40 plus years of success!!