Nowadays, the new-car business is huge. Auto makers have evolved into faceless mega-corporations that crank out millions of cars a year, ignoring their roots as home-spun family businesses. However, in the automotive after market, the family business is the dominating entity. An excellent example of the successful family-run after market business is Erebuni Corp.

Erebuni is a manufacturer, importer and distributor of aerodynamic g r o u n d effects and w i d e body kits. An interesting name for a company, the story behind Erebuni -- and the family who owns it--is even better.

Erebuni is the ancient name of Yerevan, capital of the Republic of Armenia. A true family business, the brothers Garo Yegnukian, president of Erebuni Corp., and Koko Yegnukian, Vice President, were both born in Yerevan, Armenia at the time when it was still part of the now defunct Soviet Union. Their father, Hagop Yegnukian, is the patriarch of the family, founder and Chairman of the Board of Erebuni Corp. The family's pride in their heritage is even in the logo of the company. The lion with the castle in the Erebuni logo is the city crest of Erebuni, which is 2780 years old. The boot on one side signifies the Yegnukian family's roots in the shoe business, the car signifies the present. The lion moves toward the car--the present and future--with a torch in his hand to illuminate the path, but looks back to the past not forgetting where it came from. Sense of indebtedness to past generations of the Yegnukian family obviously runs high in the Yegnukian brothers.

The company itself was established in 1979, but to not go back further in time would do injustice to the company history. The Yegnukian family was one of the lucky ones to escape the Turkish massacres of the Armenians in the Ottoman empire in 1915. Leaving their homeland with only what they could carry, they resettled in Bulgaria. Hagop Yegnukian's father opened a shoe factory in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. This is where Hagop learned his first trade, however his love was with cars, motorcycles and even airplanes. From an early age he tinkered with automobiles and hung around car and motorcycle clubs. In 1946, the family moved to Armenia, which by this time had fallen into communist Russia hands after a short-lived independence of two years. Hagop Yegnukian had a natural gift for things mechanical, and received his engineering degree in 1954. By 1958 he had 68 inventions to his name in the Soviet automobile industry. Unfortunately, the Soviets did not appreciate his initiative and many of his inventions never went into production. Although one of his inventions did win him an invitation to the Kremlin and a spot in the Kremlin's Industrial Museum, no monetary rewards were to come. In 1972, the family moved to Beirut, Lebanon with the intention of moving on to the U.S.

In 1973, the family arrived in New York. A year later, Hagop borrowed $6,000 from a bank with the help of a co-signer and opened his first business in the U.S.: a gas station. Those first years were very difficult, resulting in long and hard hours for the entire family. As in any family financial endeavor everybody pitched in to help, including the 14-year-old Garo and 6-year-old Koko.

The importance of education was not lost on the Yegnukian family, and through the years Garo and Koko went to school and worked, both full time. Garo graduated from college with a B.A. in marketing, then went on to law school. Although he is admitted to the New York Bar, he chooses not to practice. The love of cars instilled in him by his father at a young age is more important than the prestige of being a practicing lawyer. Koko graduated from college with a double major in English and philosophy, however once again he chose a career in automobiles.

From 1974 until the present the family business had many transformations but everything still revolved around cars. They did everything with cars including auto repair, body repair, dismantling, selling used and new parts, selling used cars, custom conversions, auto accessories, etc. All the businesses were successful from the start. When the first Sun computerized engine analyzers were introduced, Hagop Yegnukian was one of the first to acquire one. Because of his engineering knowledge, he was able to use all types of high-tech electronic equipment in the days when most shops still held on to old ways of doing business.

In 1979, they expanded their business with the addition of Datsun Z car specialization. They sold entire cars, new and used parts, accessories, racing parts and equipment... and of course ground effects. In 1983, while they were still Datsun Z specialists they realized the potential of the ground effects aspect of their business, and decided to get into it on a larger scale. Already familiar with the business because of their association with ground effects for Z cars, the transition was very well planned in advance. All that was left to do was to buy their supplier's entire line rather than just the Z car kits. Their very first catalog was made up from black and white photo copies. In September of 1992, their first 72-page color catalog was mailed to their customers. Since then they have added a total of five supplements to their base catalog, which brought the total number of pages to 108.

What distinguishes Erebuni Corp. from other companies in the business of aerodynamic ground effects is that they cover all three aspects of the industry: manufacturing, importing and distributing. Because of this, they offer their customers the widest selection in quality, price and style. They distribute the products of major ground effects companies in the U.S. and import from two dozen companies worldwide, mainly from Germany, Italy, Austria, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Canada and Mexico. Their manufacturing policy is to fill the gaps that others have left open, therefore they make kits that may not be available from any of their suppliers. One such example is the kit for the Saab 900 that they manufacture. However, if one of their suppliers has made a ground effects kit for a particular car that they have a demand for they would rather buy it from the supplier than to make it themselves.

Their 108-page full-color catalog features more than 500 different kits. However, it still doesn't cover everything they have in stock, which numbers well over 1,500 different kits. The ability to maintain such a large and varied stock is due, partly, to their strong and efficient buying power. They are always purchasing close-outs from competitors who go out of business or from the manufacturers or importers themselves. For example, they have many kits in stock from Zender, Kaminari, Pacific, A&A and several others that are not listed in the catalog. In some cases, like with Kaminari products, they have more kits in stock than the manufacturer themselves.

However, their continuous success does not allow them to lose sight of the future thanks to stiff competition. Future plans for Erebuni Corp. include plans to revolutionize the rear wing/spoiler business in the same way they revolutionized the ground effects business. In the coming months, Erebuni Corp. will introduce their full color rear wing catalog, which they say will offer four times the selection of rear wings of any other manufacture's, importer's or distributor's line. Huge selection like that gives Erebuni the ability to give their customers what they want. And, in any business, whether it's a huge corporation or a private enterprise, giving customers what they want is the key to success.

Sport Compact Car - December 1995

Erebuni Corp. (New York) 158 Roebling Street Brooklyn, NY 11211 U.S.A.
Erebuni Corp. (California) 8942 Lankershim Blvd. Sun Valley, CA 91352 U.S.A.
Phone: 718.387.0800, Fax: 718.387.0804, Orders Only: 888.EREBUNI
Please mail all correspondence to the New York address above.

Copyright ® 1997-2012
Erebuni Corp. 158 Roebling Street
Brooklyn, New York 11211