They come in many sizes, colors and materials. Some are fancy and some are plain. Some are new and some are used. You can buy just one or buy a set of four. It’s Hubcaps Unlimited, as Rick Dynek has aptly named his business at 4262 S. Howell Ave.
Dynek says his business of specializing in just hubcaps is doing very well. He stocks about 20,000 hubcaps, making him one of the state’s largest wheel cover outlets.
He can outfit any car or truck with sizes ranging from a small center cover to one that is 24.5 inches in diameter. The new fad is color or graphics although wire wheel covers are still the most popular, Dynek said. Prices at Hubcaps Unlimited range from $5 to $100 for a single cover. Sets can be purchased for as low as $20 and as high as $300. Plastic is now used to make hubaps as well as the usual steel, chrome, and stainless steel. The plastic comes in different grades and some of these covers have some distinct advantages, according to Dynek. “Some of these covers are made of a very durable plastic which has nylon spun right into the material for strength. These cover are much lighter and this affects speed, ” he said.
The business has been at the present location for the last two years although Dynek has been selling hubcaps for eight years. He began the business with stock bought from flea markets and salvage yards. He then worked out of his garage. He now buys stock direct from the manufacturers and imports covers from Europe and Taiwan. He still buys used hubcaps but only resells them when they are cleaned and repaired.
“Rick works long hours fixing up the used caps. He pounds out the dents and replaces broken clips and puts in a lot of time getting them cleaned up,” said Joe Tice, a full time employee. Tice says his job requires him to visit about 70 used car lots every week. He provides the dealers with replacement covers for the cars on their lots.
“We set up the used car lots but we also get people with brand new cars coming in to get something nicer. They may feel the original hubap is too plain,” Dynek said.
Dynek’s wife, Cynthia, also works in the business. “She does all the bookkeeping. She knows just as much as Rick does about the business as far as what fits what and what we have in stock,” Tice said.
Dynek says he goes to all the car shows and swap meets. “There is a lot of nostalgia about hubcaps. People will spend hours talking about something like this,” he said showing off a 1955 Oldsmobile hubcap. “This was a really hot item then,” he said. We ship UPS all over the city and even all over the country. We have had orders from California which were the result of referrals from former customers,” Dynek revealed.
One member of the firm, Frosty, the beagle mix dog, is happy for the daily UPS shipments. It seems the UPS driver is thoughtful enough to carry dog treats on his route. But Frosty will give you a friendly greeting even if you reward him with nothing more than a pat on the head.
Hubcaps Unlimited is open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.