This is the time of year when business normally picks up for Maria and Jerry Moran, managers of venerable Calderon Tire Service in downtown Sunnyvale – especially with lots of people planning long holiday drives.
“When it starts to rain, a lot of the procrastinators find themselves slipping all over the wet roads,” Maria said. That’s when they realize it’s time to ditch those bald tires and grab some skins that will safe this winter.
The shop at 205 E. Washington Avenue has been in the Calderon family for more than three decades, where it’s become known for solid, professional service that has kept generations of customers coming back.
Maria is the daughter of the original owner, who started multiple Calderon tire shops in the San Jose area and beyond. She and her husband began managing this one six or seven years ago and have kept up the same great service on anything having to do with tires, alignment, wheels, suspension, struts and brakes. They don’t do any general mechanics.
David vs. Goliath
In a time when mom-and pop businesses can’t compete on price with the big tire outlets, that personal, community-focused touch is a mark of distinction that the little guy can offer.
That’s why the South Bay natives have sponsored local youth softball and baseball teams, for example.
Also unlike the big chains, Calderon Tire will service your car whenever you need it -- no long wait, no appointment necessary. Just drive on in. Oh, you’re short on cash? No problem. Maria and Jerry will give you 90 days to pay, no credit check required.
Plus, while you’re there, the Calderon crew can hook you up with snow tires or any other special tire or wheel you may want. If they don’t have it in stock, they’ll look high and low until they snag it for you.
All this doesn’t mean it’s easy to thrive, especially when people don’t have a lot of money. So the Morans have been trying to market their services to some of the South Bay’s big, employers, like Google, and to auto dealers, as well as to people who work right around the corner.
“I’d like to be the No. 1 tire business in the area,” Jerry says.
How well those ambitious efforts work remains to be seen, but one thing is already clear: Lots of people love the service, and the shop’s customers have let their views be known on Yelp, where Calderon’s rates high marks and glowing comments.
“We’ve just become known as a good family tire shop,” Jerry says.
So why not drive over to the shop on your slick tires right now, before the next rainfall? When you pull in, knowledgeable workers who are proud to offer personal service at a shop with a long Sunnyvale history will greet you.
From aerospace and high tech PR to wine shop owner was a natural step for Susan Walker. She fell in love with wine during a month-long trip to France in her 20’s and at a certain point in her career, realized that being a permanent hostess in her own wine bar would be a dream in the making.
There was never any question it would be in Sunnyvale, where she’s lived for more than two decades. “I love it here,” she says, “it keeps its small-town appeal and home town feel - no matter how big it gets.”
Intimate Atmosphere - Friendly Service
Founder and owner of Brandon’s on Murphy Avenue, Susan takes pride in the atmosphere at this 12-year-old wine bar and shop. “People come here because they can sit and have a quiet chat, they can enjoy the camaraderie of others if they choose, and primarily because it’s a lovely intimate atmosphere to drink very good wine.”
Brandon’s specializes in small, boutique wines not easily found outside the winery. Susan says that, “We serve wines that are bottled in lots fewer than 1000 cases, so they can be hard to find elsewhere. The stock is different every two weeks.” They also offer a selection of beers, ports and champagnes, which can be from anywhere as suits the season and the availability.
No matter where the drink is from, each is selected to please the customers that Susan has come to know so well. “I love our customers,” she says. “Some are CEO's of big firms who have grown with us over the past 12 years, others are relatively new to California but looking for a more personal interaction with wines. It’s a diverse group.”
On-Site by the Glass - Bottles for Sale
Brandon’s wines are available on-site by the glass and for sale by the bottle or case. Frequently they supply high-end, limited edition wines to corporations seeking something special for corporate events.
In the summer, there is music on Wednesday and Fridays, and throughout the year there are special events, most publicized via their Facebook page and a private client email list.
Closed Sunday and Monday, Brandon’s is the ideal place to sit and get to know someone, to share a quiet moment, celebrate a special event or to develop your personal wine palate. It is located at 165 S. Murphy Avenue, #D (at the opening to the ally) and you can reach out to Brandon’s at: 408-732-6387, and their vibrant Facebook community.
Like historic Murphy Avenue itself, this is a distinct destination, one that as Susan pointed out, is “always welcoming to people who want to share a moment with us.”
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