I woke up this past Saturday in a warm house, surrounded by snow capped mountains as Friday’s storm dumped rain on L.A.’s suburban west valley. It was a beautiful, crisp morning as I headed out the door at 7:30AM to drive 50 miles towards East L.A. so I could support Caine’s Arcade.
I exited Mission Rd. and immediately found myself in what looked like another country. The graffiti-lined industrial road was packed with auto body shops. There was dude after dude standing outside in the street, trying to get me and other passing cars into their shop like they were competing parking lots on Sunset Blvd. It was extremely humbling.
“Most of our business has gone online because we really don’t get the walk up traffic like we used to. So Caine’s chances of getting one customer is pretty hard,” said Caine’s father, George.
I arrived shortly after 8:20AM where only a few people gathered in front of Smart Parts Aftermarket. I initially drove past the shop, expecting to get a cue from a giant crowd out front. I had navigation in my car and still managed to pass the shop (that’s how many auto body shops there are on this street). I turned around and found a spot down the street, said “goodbye” to my car, and walked towards Caine’s Arcade.