Wheel Warehouse's History
Our humble beginnings were when teenagers Rob Cullen and his brother began earning some spending money by refurbishing old, damaged wheels they had fished out of the trash and then selling them at the local swap meet. Before long, the small and very young aftermarket wheel industry noticed Rob and gave him a chance to sell some of their alloy wheels as well. Business went well, and in 1979 Rob opened the first ever “boutique” store for aftermarket wheels in the US – probably in the entire world – at the original location at the corner of La Palma Blvd. and Lemon Street in Anaheim, CA. As of March 9th, 2016, we have moved into our brand facility at 805 W. Katella Ave., Orange, CA(about 5 miles from our original location).
In the early 1980’s, Wheel Warehouse ownership worked with newly hired Manager Chris Granger to add tires and installation to the menu, again leading the industry at the very beginning of the plus-sizing era. As had occurred at the swap meet, there was rarely a need for the company to go out and seek product, new opportunities or new employees. It seemed as if the entire industry and everyone who lived locally beat a path to our door. By the end of that decade, Wheel Warehouse had become famous for our vast product selection and our insight into the newest and best the industry had to offer, including Toyo and Nitto tires, MHT brand name wheels, TSW, American Racing, American Eagle and so many more now-iconic brands. Our Parking Lot sales set a new industry standard and lasted until the late-1990’s when we did over a quarter million dollar in sales on one single Saturday. WW was the very first company to start buying customer takeoff original equipment products and wholesaling them to local retailers.
In the 1990’s, WW recognized the need to create its own program for the training and development of our sales force and our service department – both deeply rooted in our way of treating customers and their rides. Every member of our team began his career at an entry level position, passionately studied all the activity going on, and eventually got promoted. Of course, we couldn’t keep everyone because there was so much talent and energy. Today if you look around the industry you’ll find former WW employees who own their own wheel companies (including a major wheel label), who have been in upper management of successful industry firms, who excel in sales in both the wheel and tire industries, who have become industry consultants, and a few who have gone on to excel in other industries as well. Every year at our industry trade show (SEMA), one can hardly walk 5 steps without running into one or another of our former staff.
Chris Granger left WW to become a jet pilot, but he kept the take-off business he helped create and eventually brought his brother-in-law Mike Yablonka into that business – Socal Wheels. In February 2011, Socal Wheels purchased Wheel Warehouse from Rob Cullen as he entered retirement.
Enjoy some of the photos of the early days of Wheel Warehouse on this page. If you want to hear more of our history and our stories drop by and visit Chris, Brett, Devin, Max, Ralph, Fred, Christian or, of course, Rick who is now celebrating his 38th year at the world famous Wheel Warehouse.