Now in its 50th year, Santa Clara’s Eyers Hitch Center is a true family affair. With over 85 years of experience between co-owners Cecil and Eric Eyers, Eyers Hitch Center prides itself on the service and expertise it provides customers.
In 1967, Cecil was eager to start his own business. A welder by trade, Eyers served in the United States Navy and worked as a maintenance mechanic and welder at a lumber yard in Santa Clara for several years. He rebuilt Volkswagen engines in his spare time and knew his future business venture would fall into his line of expertise, but hitches were not originally part of his plan. It wasn’t until he purchased a boat and needed a hitch to tow it that he found his calling.
While watching technicians weld a hitch to his vehicle, he realized he had the skills needed to do the job and knew it was the business he wanted to have. He called the manufacturer, who agreed to train him at their Los Angeles location. Upon his return, he pre-paid six months’ rent at a location off Stevens Creek and Kiely Blvd. and opened the doors. In the first month, the business turned a profit.
“We built everything,” he says. “Everything was custom built so we started out with a piece of steel and welded up a hitch and put them on the car. Then it evolved to the manufacturers making the hitch for a certain car and that’s the way it is now. You buy them and install them.”
Growing up, Eric was always part of the shop. Soon after he was born, a crib was set up in the office space and at age eight he was sweeping the floors. By 15, he was performing simple wire work, all taught to him by his father. In 1999, he became a partner. Now, Eric’s son, Matthew, 23, works at Eyers Hitch Center part-time and, according to Cecil, has an aptitude for the trade.
“You give him a set of instructions and he actually reads them and then does the job,” Cecil says. “He works hard.”
Cecil says that staying competitive in an ever-changing and niche market has been a challenge and business goes up and down about every 10 years. During the gas crisis in the 70s, Eyers Hitch Center began installing auxiliary fuel tanks—something it no longer does—alongside hitches. In the 80s it was performing aftermarket tasks like installing spare tire holders and running boards, now items that come standard on new vehicles. Still, there’s a market for what the company does.
All of Eyers’ business is now related to its specialty—everything pertaining to towing. In addition to hitches, Eyers Hitch Center installs bike and cargo racks, performs hitch repairs and has positioned itself as an educational resource for towing safety.
Customers also look to the center for the expertise and customer service received from its owners. They are given an appointment time and all work is completed on the same day. Although mistakes in pricing or placement are rare, The Eyers are quick to fix issues and customers have taken notice, returning whenever a new hitch or towing product is needed.
“We treat people right,” says Cecil. “We do a good job. You don’t stay in business this long without doing that. I’ve never had a hitch fall off in 50 years.”
Eyers Hitch Center is at 3473 El Camino Real. Call 408-248-4454 or visit www.eyershitch.com for more information.