2013- Nice, France- Iron Man Triathlon
How it began:
I started Alfissimo International out of a love for Alfa, and a desire to not work for anyone. I started the business in a rented garage after graduating college in 1996 with very little money; a free website and a willingness to make this dream happen. I worked on “nearly” zero stock and just ordered parts when my customers needed them. I got my hands greasy keeping customers cars on the road to make ends meet. I have hands on experience with nearly all Alfa's. Alfissimo was officially established in late 1998.
Since that time, Alfissimo has grown by leaps and bounds. It was a hard journey, very hard. Sometimes, I barely made it. I worked at least 12hr+ days, every day. These habits are hard to break and to this day still work like this.
Due to this growth, my wife Valerie has taken on the finances of the business/office/creative and a bit more. She really has added more to the business. She is a great asset as I realized I was not able to do it all. She is also our in-house model/Alfissimo girl, she previously did ad and commercial work so why not? We wear many hats here at Alfissimo and I am lucky to have such help in house.
A little background:
I was born in San Diego but grew up mostly in Torrance CA where my father moved his job. Luckily, I went back home to San Diego almost every weekend so I consider the South Bay and San Diego my home. I also lived in Flagstaff AZ where my father retired and I have lived in Mexico and Italy.
I caught the car bug from my father. You could always catch him and I in the garage working on his 1955 Austin Healey 100m BRG, 280zx or any one of my cars. In-fact, tinkering with anything mechanical, discussing car design, architecture to rockets is something we did. It was endless. The Austin-Healey was the car that got me hooked. Sitting in the middle between both front seats and the shifter as my dad flew threw the 4 gears bringing the large piston 4 cyl to the rev-line was intoxicating. Amazing time. Around this time, the GTV6 was introduced and we drooled over it. This was my first Alfa love. My dad ended up placing a deposit on one but never bought it. He ended up going for a 280zx. Jag e-type was his dream, his dream of a jag was not in the cards due to reliability issues. My dream Jag was an XJS like the Saint. Well, I ended up the Alfa guy since I first had hopes of my dad buying that GTV6. I love cars, I am a car guy but I am not interested in every car out there, this is why I gravitate to anything Alfa and focus on them.
My father, a pioneer in the aerospace industry (General Dynamics/Convair 55'-97'), (systems manager and materials expert) designing and building rockets from the, first satellite program to the Atlas Rocket to the Space shuttle. He instilled in me an engineering mind and vehicle knowledge/sense (and loads of other random knowledge). Always taught me to educate myself further and research heavily along with lots of testing. He was constantly educating me. He was a true genius with a hilarious dark/sarcastic sense of humor. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. (RIP: James L. Minos 1925-2017) Although there is a lot about my dad, he was my teacher, mentor and number one fan. So he's apart of all this as much as I am.
That said, I have, from this, become a bit of a perfectionist and a bit of an organized engineer from it. Jokes aside, I go with function and aesthetics as I really have that artistic design side of the brain working at all times. The other side saying, "will that actually work?". Let's do research and find out. Adding useless or subpar parts is not worth it for anyone involved, you waste money and time. It's a sweet balance but a calculated one and it requires the use of the highest quality materials/parts I can find or make. I learned long ago that those subpar/for looks parts may make you money but they don't make customers happy in the long run. I am very simplistic, practical and original in my approach to cars aesthetically and that changes slightly when it comes to suspension tuning, ECU tuning and so on. I learned a lot about materials from my dad, being a rocket scientist this is extremely crucial. I bring that to our products and approach. When we outsource we look for the best at what they do so the end product is superior. Although I started my studies with engineering, my artistic brain took over and I moved to designing instead, that engineering mind is still here working overtime and I so not see why I can't use both to our advantage.
My goal is to make the Alfa driving experience more enjoyable and more refined, so you can enjoy driving out to a nice restaurant to a day at the track. I offer the best of the best and refuse to sell parts to just sell them.
Parts, this is the main reason Alfissimo is here
Parts are what drive me to work every day. There is something exhilarating about supplying parts that I have found in the crevices of the earth or supplying parts that refine your Alfa. Supplying Alfa parts is a challenge and it's what gets me up in the mornings, very early! If I can't find it then I am not doing my job.
I strive to provide only 100% Original Parts at all times or the highest quality after-market, Reproduction parts and accessories available. I do not supply parts that are known to be inferior, even if it’s the only product available. I don’t mess around with cheap parts or useless “upgrades”. Waste of time and money. These parts do not benefit anyone involved –You can visit other vendors for those parts but you won't find them here!
When it comes to performance, I will only offer the very best and only functional upgrades. From Squadra Tuning to GMS performance parts, Nitron, Llagos Wheels, to Alfissimo Bespoke products and more for New and Old cars.
What do you get when you shop with Alfissimo? I'd say a lot.
We are an Alfa Romeo Specialist. That's all we do. We don't do Ferrari, BMW, Porsche, Mercedes or anything else! You can't specialize if you are doing many other marques. That said we offer excellent customer service, excellent pricing and parts in stock or quickly obtained. What you also get in the client services area is a personalized and thoughtful approach focusing on your needs/wants/desires. If you don’t really need it or it's a worthless upgrade. I will let you know!
The future for myself and Alfissimo is to stay small and specialized as I believe growing too big, offering everything for every car is not going to sustain a quality of service/selection that I want. It's a never ending learning and changing process. I am never perfectly set in the way things are around here.
I am here to help you with your Alfa needs. My goal is to keep your Alfa Romeo on the road and looking great for many years to come! This means I I go far and beyond to try to carry every part possible, rare, new or used for any Alfa Romeo.
If I do not have it, I will work hard to provide it to my clients!
Even if it takes a little time, I enjoy the challenge.
Thanks for visiting,
& Valerie Minos