i've been going down there a bunch recently and bob's been having a rough time with the changing face of silicon valley.
the cost of doing business is skyrocketing, so he can't pay what it takes to keep mechanics in the area, and can't pay what it takes to keep landlords from selling off their warehouse spaces for storage. the cost of living is also squeezing more and more people into the fringes, to the point where the area around the shop is full of desperate people who try to break into his shop or vandalize it.
he said the other day that it just wasn't fun anymore. can't argue with that.
i was hoping mike would give it a go, but i can see why he wouldn't want to.
too bad for us, but they are all good people and i wish them the best and hope bob gets to enjoy his retirement as much as we've enjoyed his business.
on my last visit i was lucky enough to give him a bottle of whiskey for all his help with my projects. glad i didn't put it off one more trip.
Another great vendor gone. I remember the first time I dealt with Rabers. I ordered the thickest layshaft spacer for my BSA. Part arrived, but it measured the standard thickness. I got on the phone and he measured another with the same part number, same deal. While still on the phone, he went to the back and measured until he found the correct part. Shipped it to me immediately. Can't find that sort of service anymore.
I knew them and they knew me. I needed an odd-ball size spacer for my layshaft and Richard brought out the whole kit and measured a dozen spacers and did the math to add up two together for the thickness I needed, sent them out the same day. Seems they had whatever odd-ball piece you might need and would take the time to go in the back and dig it out for you. Lots of new old stock stuff.
Yes what a shame, too bad he couldn't move to Oregon but it's getting crowded and expensive here too. Not as bad as SV though. Not meaning to hijack the thread but Peter Hougaard's operation seems to work well, I found texting Eric works pretty good.
It finally happened. I was in there a couple of months ago talking with Bob about my Hornet. He didn’t say he was retiring, but he said some things that made me think so. Sorry to see the excellent local shop close.
Somehow I missed this thread, When someone mention I just get a calm smile and remember the first email I received in 1999 from Betsy Raber. Part of it read as below.
At the suggestion of Geoff Ullmann we checked out your website and were impressed by what we saw. We would like to place an advertising banner on your website and need to know the details for doing so. We look forward to hearing from you.
Sincerely, Betsy Raber Raber's Parts Mart
Here is an image from a year 2000 thread but with a modern banner, It's been a while. Thank you Betsy & Bob (Mike) for twenty years on BritBike.
A close friend went to the Rabers auction. Said it was crazy. Said they should have hired a professional auctioneer, like Woods. There was no on-line bidding or lines of credit set up, you had to be there. They simply pulled boxes off the shelf and auctioned them. Like a box of 100 standard Triumph pistons, a box of 150 standard clutch cables, and so on. By the afternoon the crowd evaporated. He bought a crate with 30 A10 bottom end case sets for $15 or something. He only needed one set, but they were 10X that much on eBay. There were so few bidders at the end that things were going at scrap metal prices.... but you had to haul off 50X more than you ever wanted to get the 10 you needed.
Obviously Rabers had enough "cheese" and just wanted out of the trap.
A close friend went to the Rabers auction. Said it was crazy. Said they should have hired a professional auctioneer, like Woods.
I don't know why people hire jack-leg auctioneers that don't do their best to group items and get good prices for them.
I saw it happen when a big old country store near here in Virginia was auctioned off. The owner had just had a health scare and was convinced that running the store any more would kill him. So he hired a really bad auctioneer to sell the store, real estate, and all the stock in the store. The food and guns weren't included, but since it was an old general store, there were tons of tools, plows, equipment, plumbing/electrical supplies, all new.
The guy sold the store in 5 minutes, with everything, for $80,000, about half of what the land was worth. The guy that bought it, a local real estate developer that buys everything he can get his hands on to put trailers and double-wides on, hung around the store for a week selling everything in it by the front-end-loader-full, made his money back just on the stuff in the store, then sold the real estate for $180,000 ....
I mean, nothing against being johnny-on-the-spot with cash and getting a good deal, but I've got some antique furniture in an auctioneer's hands to be hammered down this weekend, and I'd be a bit peed-off if he did my stuff that way. I've watched him work though, so not worried ....
The Rabers auction was run by Jerry Woods. His team went out months before the auction to set things up. The auction was held over one day and if they tried to auction one piece at a time it would have taken years to sell it all. I just spent a week with the owner of that 40' container and was told that out of all the piles of parts he bid on only one or two other bidders gave him any bidding competition. Of the 50 or 60 people that showed up most were there just to see who got all the parts. Bob Raber was very disappointed at the outcome.
When Jim Bernier of Bernier Vintage Motorcycles knew his time was short he spent a few months organizing all his parts and stuff into lots. Most of the lots were a mixture of good desirable stuff with a few items of limited value/use tossed in. Everything sold within a few hours at prices I though were pretty good for the seller. I was surprised however to have been the only bidder on a box of Lucas K2f magnetos. Got a box with 6 of them, and one BTH mag for $75.00.
Last edited by MikeG; 01/19/196:16 pm.
1960 BSA A10 2007 Suzuki Bandit 1957 A10 (Used to be a Triumph here) 71 Norton Commando 17 Triumph Bonneville