Company History

“An Honest Brake Since 1983″

Brake Masters® was founded in June 1983 by the Laytin brothers in Tucson, Arizona.

From its inception, Brake Masters was dedicated to providing customers with an “Honest Brake,” meaning that customers are only sold services that are needed or required according to manufacturer specifications. This philosophy was—and is— a radical shift from the high pressure over-selling that is common in the automotive repair business.

Our ASE certified technicians and store managers are trained to diagnose and advise our customers on services they need to maintain and repair their vehicles, and in particular, to extend the life of their vehicles.

This philosophy has led to Brake Masters’ remarkable growth and is evident in everything we do— from how we hire and train our team members, to how we treat our customers every day.

Our team members take P.R.I.D.E. in their work—”Personal Responsibility In Delivering Excellence,” and we’re confident you’ll notice when you visit one of our stores.

History

Brake Masters is a privately-held automotive repair chain based in Tucson, AZ.
Brake Masters was founded as Auto Brakes, Inc. in Tucson in February of 1982 by Eric and Shalom Laytin. As Eric Laytin tells it, the mission of Brake Masters was to provide “fast, value priced, quality auto service”.

Eric and Shalom Laytin were born and raised in Jerusalem. In 1980, the two brothers, decided to immigrate to the United States, after serving Israel for three years in their Army.

Eric and Shalom, both in their twenties, looked to pursue the “American Dream,” even though they came from a low-income family, and had no financial backing. The two brothers started in New York, but moved to Los Angeles a short time later.

Eric, whose education was in technology, had gone to work as an auto mechanic. Eric Laytin was known for taking appliances apart as a child while growing up in Jerusalem. He was fascinated with how machines worked.

Meanwhile, Shalom started in door-to-door sales. Shalom’s skills led to work with a company that specialized in condominium conversions. He utilized his friendly disposition and people skills in sales and marketing.

While living in Los Angeles, Eric Laytin noticed a bunch of quick lube and auto repair shops with substantial business. He thought they would be a hit in smaller markets where there wasn’t as much competition. He zeroed in on Tucson after visiting a friend there.

Eric Laytin, then 24, took the $3,500 he received from restoring a sports car to secure a lease at a small two-bay garage that had been vacant at 4260 E. Grant Road in Tucson. Taking his tool box and some paint, he got the store in shape to open Valentine’s Day, 1982.

Shalom Laytin joined his brother’s business shortly after, focusing on customer service, communications and marketing.

In October of 1983, the name of the store was changed to Brake Masters, and the “stop sign” logo was first introduced.

From the very beginning, Eric and Shalom embraced a business philosophy that has guided their enterprise to this day: honesty, hard work, fast service and low prices.

At first, growth was slow, with the second store opening in May of 1984 on Broadway Blvd. The brothers had figured the tremendous success of their first shop would spill over into the second store, but it did not happen that way. In fact, Shalom Laytin had to go door to door to hand out coupons for the new store on Broadway.

Brake Masters was a small two store operation until a third Brake Masters opened in March of 1989. This third Brake Masters was located at Kolb and 22nd Street.

Eric and Shalom Laytin realized success from their three store operation, and decided to expand into other markets. “We were wondering whether to go to Las Vegas or Albuquerque,” Shalom Laytin said. His thought at the time was Vegas’ gambling scene didn’t seem to fit with their business model of being in neighborhood shopping centers, but they later entered the Vegas market.

The two brothers decided that Albuquerque was the best choice. And, in April of 1992, Brake Masters opened its first corporate owned store in another market.

Brake Masters also began franchising stores shortly thereafter. The first franchise store was opened in Sierra Vista, AZ in August of 1994.

The first store in Southern California was opened in Tarzana in July of 1995. This store was jointly owned by the two Laytin brothers and a franchisee. Later, the two Laytin brothers sold their interest in this and other Southern California stores. Presently, Brake Masters has 24 stores in Southern California. All of these Brake Masters stores are franchised.

Brake Masters made a significant move in December 1996, with the opening a Corporate owned store in the Phoenix market. There are now 18 Corporate owned Brake Masters stores in the Phoenix area, as well as 5 franchise stores in the area.

Beginning in December 1997, Brake Masters accelerated expansion of their franchise operations, as multiple franchise stores were opened in several markets.

Brake Masters currently has 55 Corporate Owned, and 35 Franchised stores in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. Brake Masters competes in the major markets of Los Angeles, Phoenix, Sacramento, Albuquerque, Tucson and El Paso.

Brake Masters specializes in Lifetime Brakes. They also provide lifetime warranties on many replacement parts, including water pumps, starters, alternators, CV boots, U-joints and axles. Other services include oil changes, tire rotation, radiator, brake and transmission fluid exchanges, belts, hoses, batteries and air conditioning service and replacement.

Brake Masters was the first retail chain in the country offering free brake inspections. Brake Masters is also noted for their slogan: “We give you an honest brake.” Co-founder Shalom Laytin, working in conjunction with a local Tucson advertising firm, helped coin this popular slogan. The “honest brake” slogan was officially trademarked in August of 1993.

The “Brake Buddy” trade character was introduced in 2000, and has been used off-and-on in marketing efforts since then.

Brake Masters employs ASE Certified (Automotive Service Excellence) Technicians in the majority of their stores. Brake Masters has been certified as an Accredited Business by the Better Business Bureau.

Brake Masters complies with all regulations regarding disposal of hazardous waste. Brake Masters uses only non-toxic vegetable oils in its hydraulic lifts and drain separators. Brake Masters also employs safe-guards for use of cleaners and solvents using only non- or low- toxic chemicals and cleaners.

Brake Masters does not use any underground storage or waste tanks. All oil and other liquids are stored in specially designed storage rooms in double-walled steel storage tanks.

Brake Masters has established partnerships with Valvoline, Bendix and Monroe for products and parts used to service vehicles.

Eric Laytin and Shalom Laytin are still active overseers of the Brake Masters business.

Brake Masters has been involved with charitable giving, with numerous donations to the YMCA, and other worthy non-profit organizations.