For Mike Burcz, the owner of Hubcap Heaven, located in Roxborough, the art of keeping vehicles rolling down the road in style has been in the family business for over 30 years.
Hubcap Heaven has been able to adapt to the different changes in not only in automobiles, but also changes to society and the way his business operates. Once hubcaps became less common to find on contemporary automobiles, Hubcap Heaven began selling and reconditioning wheels that are fit to meet original equipment manufacturer (OEM) standards, as well as adapting their business model to incorporate online sales. Many of their sales are a result of online transactions, due to the fact they carry a wide variety of hubcaps, center caps and other rare wheel parts that are hard to find.
Many of the wheels and hubcaps that end up at Hubcap Heaven are purchased from salvage yards or body shops, sometimes being purchased individually, and other times being purchased in mass quantity. The wheels are then refurbished to appear as if they were new. Not every wheel repair job is done in-house at Hubcap Heaven, due to the size and expense of all the equipment required for doing a mass quantity of refurbishing work, but the quality of their work is never lacking.
“Refurbishing the wheels requires stripping the wheel down, straightening out the dents with heat and powdercoating them back into factory finish,” says Burcz.
Looking around the property, it is very easy to come across different odds and ends from past automobiles, but taking one step into the office at Hubcap Heaven shows other relics of the past, being decorated from wall to wall with license plates displaying a vast selection of geographical locations, as well as various war relics.
“My father was an antique collector, he used to go around to flea markets and yard sales and buy all kinds of weird stuff,” explains Burcz. “He loved military stuff, I have a big collection at home of it”.
Despite having currently accumulated a massive inventory of different wheel-related items, Hubcap Heaven’s humble origins can be traced back to what started as a business venture between Burcz and his father.
“My father and I used to go up and down the Schuylkill Expressway, going back 30 years ago when it was nothing but a giant pothole,” explains Burcz. “We could fill up a pickup truck in hours. 2 hours, completely filled from top to bottom.”
Despite starting off small, the ability to quickly adjust to changes within the industry and consumer trends has proven that Hubcap Heaven continue with its success as the go-to source for all of the wheel needs of the Roxborough area, and far beyond.
Text, Pictures and Video by Kevin Barr
WOW! How in the hell did I not know about this place over 25 years ago?! It’s cool places like this, let alone with the story that it holds that really are critical to keeping the “Heritage” of Philly intact for ANY generation(s) to come!
I was thinking of edging my very small garden, about a 10-foot perimeter, with hubcaps. if I wasn’t at all picky about which ones I got what would you estimate the cost of that to be?