SpeedWorld races across town

06/03/2010 12:00 AM |

SpeedworldFX owner Jim Stavrinos, who has been doing business in Riverhead for 10 years, is now in a new location on East Main Street.

Surprised to see a 7-Eleven pop up where you used to pimp your ride in Riverhead?

No worries. SpeedWorld FX, the only shop on the North Fork dedicated to custom parts and tires for local streetracers and classic car buffs, moved last month after 10 years at its Old Country Road location. It’s now in a former machine shop on East Main Street next to Riverhead Radiator.

Owner Jim Stavrinos said he made the move because the rent at the old location got to be more than he could handle. So he spent $450,000 to purchase the vacant machine shop and invested about $100,000 more to renovate it from top to bottom. As a result, his monthly expense has dropped from $7,000 in rent to a $2,600 mortgage payment.

Mr. Stavrinos, 54, said the former machine shop, which had stood empty for about a year, was more than a fixer-upper. “It was a dump — we gutted the place,” he said. “Everything is new — the plumbing, the heating. Everything is fresh.

“We put a few dollars down, but it was a good investment,” he said.

SpeedWorld FX now has a roomy space for inventory, from custom aluminum rims and mobile battery chargers to key chains and fuzzy dice — “Anything you want for whatever you drive,” Mr. Stavrinos said.

Customers looking for remote starters, deer whistles and car stereo systems have also kept him and his employees, Bob Hoffman, Walter Dick and Tom Keenan, busy since the move. The business also provides modifications for contractors and others with customized work vehicles.

An install station is another advantage of the former machine shop. The crew had room for only a limited amount of installation work at the former site.

“We do a tremendous amount of wheels,” Mr. Stavrinos said, adding that custom tires cost anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000. “And we see lots of trucks.”

He said he’d also been selling a lot of aluminum rims to replace chrome rims on older cars. And though the economy was tough, last year Mr. Stavrinos did the most expensive installation in his 20 years with Speed World: an $18,000 stereo system.

“There are days that are crazy,” he said.

Without doing much advertising, he said customers have already picked up on the new location. Many of his regular customers helped him with the move. Lewin Medical Supply provided a truck and warehouse space and Phil’s Towing hauled things across town.

“People came out of the woodwork to volunteer help,” Mr. Stavrinos said. “I knew I had good customers, but you don’t realize how good they are until something like this comes up.”

Mr. Stavrinos, a New York City native, has lived in Mattituck for the 10 years he has run the location. Before that, he spent a decade running the original SpeedWorld FX on Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst. He still owns that business.

“We’ll be staying in Riverhead,” Mr. Stavrinos said of his East End location, close to home. “There is a great future here.”

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