ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — At a crossroads in his working life, Eppie Martinez got some pretty good advice from his wife.
“You’re always working on bikes,” she pointed out. “Why don’t you get a job doing something with motorcycles?”
Originally working with Martin Marietta before the government contractor went under, Martinez picked up work doing construction, swinging a hammer as a framer and roofer.
“Those are tough jobs,” Martinez said.
So he got a job as a detailer for the old Chick’s Harley-Davidson, but when his knowledge of bikes became apparent, he quickly landed on the fast track to becoming a mechanic.
“I would point out things that I noticed were wrong or were missed and pretty soon they asked if I wanted to become a mechanic,” Martinez said.
Chick’s paid for his formal training, which included video instruction then a trip to Harley’s noted mechanics school in Milwaukee.
“I got my Ph.D. in motorcycles,” Martinez said with a grin.
After bouncing around several different motorcycle stores in Albuquerque, he decided to do his own thing.
“I decided to open my own business 17 years ago and I’ve been here ever since,” he said.
And, again, his wife was right there with him.
“I wanted to do a pawn shop, but my wife said we couldn’t do that,” Martinez said as he chuckled. “So I did the motorcycles shop and she was 100 percent behind me. And she’s a good helper. She does all my paperwork and stuff.”
When Martinez opened the store, he quickly became a spot that riders could go to sell their motorcycles, primarily Harleys.
“I do it on consignment,” he said. “Of course, I check out the bikes first. If they need anything I fix them.”
A local North Valley boy who graduated from Valley High School and has maintained his roots there, Martinez owes his motorcycle love affair to his dad. The two would frequently tinker on the bikes. And Martinez began riding himself as a young teenager.
“My dad used to ride and he was always bringing different bikes home,” he said. “We’d work on them together because it was too expensive to have somebody else do it.”