Larry's AutoWorks closes down

Owner of 45-year-old business plans to sell the property, retire

Popular car repair shop Larry's AutoWorks closed down Friday and there are no plans for it to reopen. Owner Larry Moore told the Voice on Monday that he and his wife had decided to retire after lining up the sale of their shop at 2526 Leghorn St.

The closure of a business that's been a Mountain View institution for 45 years came as a surprise on Friday, March 17, when Moore and his business partner and wife Laurie created a voicemail message and Facebook post pointing customers to other shops for auto work.

Speaking to the Voice on Monday, Larry Moore said they decided to get the closure over with quickly rather than having a prolonged, painful shutdown. Moore, who is 72, said he was already looking to retire. Last week, the shop finished its last round of repair jobs and vendor payments, and then they decided to close down for good, he said.

"We could have gone on and on, but why do that? This seemed like the easiest way to do it," Moore said. "It seemed like the right time."

It might go without saying that the 1-acre auto shop is a lucrative piece of land, located just a short walk from Google's North Bayshore campus. Moore said he could not disclose who is buying the property or what the new owner planned to do with it.

Moore has been upfront that his auto shop and other small tradesmen have been struggling amid the tech-fueled economic surge that has played out in Mountain View over recent years. In a 2014 article in the Silicon Valley Business Journal, Moore said his business was doing about $2 million in business annually, yet he was still struggling to retain mechanics and increase his bottom line.

Over its long history, Larry's AutoWorks maintained a popularity that would be the envy of many entrepreneurs. For 16 years straight, Voice readers voted the auto shop the "Best of Mountain View," and its social-media pages offer ample testimony to its loyal following.

The closure was truly bittersweet, Moore said.

"It's hard to think about not having Larry's AutoWorks. It's part of who I am," Moore said.


12 people like this
Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 20, 2017 at 2:27 pm

Larry's AutoWorks will be missed! We just got our car back from them on Friday, the very day they closed. My wife told me that Larry is recommending the Car Doctor up the street. Hopefully they are as good as Larry's.

8 people like this
Posted by Gladys
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2017 at 2:27 pm

Sorry to hear about Larry's Autoworks, They've been around for a long time I remember working for Par performance back in the late 80's it's sad to see them go. Good Luck and enjoy life.

9 people like this
Posted by Tom Miller
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 20, 2017 at 2:50 pm

Sorry to hear Larry's is closing. We took our cars their for years - they were great! Wishing them a happy retirement and all the best to the employees too!

3 people like this
Posted by Who
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2017 at 2:58 pm

I'm guessing the new owner's name begins with a G and ends with an oogle. When I read he could not disclose who was buying it, that made me suspect it. Ya never know, but it sounds like it.

13 people like this
Posted by Ray Morneau
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 20, 2017 at 3:02 pm

Best wishes to Laurie and Larry!!!
Larry's Bug Shop was already legendary when I moved to Mountain View and began taking our VWs to you in the early 1970s ... remaining an icon ever since ... and a great business leader ...
You've earned your retirement!!
Thank you for your service to our MV Community!!!

2 people like this
Posted by SukwinderDixit
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 20, 2017 at 3:24 pm

SukwinderDixit is a registered user.

Loved this place. Never been there, but I did love it

9 people like this
Posted by CourtneyB
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 20, 2017 at 3:41 pm

Larry's crew has been like family, and they have given me a level of courtesy and care that can't be replicated. I wish Larry and Laurie all the best in the next phase of their lives, but I'm grieving the loss of that wonderful, extraordinary personal connection that made their superlative work just that much more special. (Also my Nissan Murano has been crying all weekend.) It's a poignant reminder that the only constant is change. Thanks to the entire Larry's team for 11 wonderful years!

11 people like this
Posted by Alicia Crank
a resident of another community
on Mar 20, 2017 at 3:54 pm

Larry is a class act! I greatly appreciated his friendship and for making himself available for Leadership Mountain View. Enjoy your much deserved retirement.

8 people like this
Posted by MyOpinion
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2017 at 5:19 pm

Owning your own property (whether it be a home or a business) is the key to having control over your destiny. Good luck to Larry and hopefully his employees will find employment.

Like this comment
Posted by IVG
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 21, 2017 at 7:41 am

We'll miss you, Larry's!

In the longer term, I think car-repair shops will gravitate to cheaper areas, like Santa Clara.

I can't imagine Google having a use for a smallish lot like this. If they did buy it, they'll have to wait a few years and buy up the surrounding lots before they can build there.

11 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 21, 2017 at 1:25 pm

I'm a weekend garage mechanic and do some amateur racing, so I've got relationships with several local mechanics, and I'm disheartened to see how difficult it is for them to run their businesses in such an affluent area. Those who rent their shops are getting priced out due to astonishingly high rent increases, and those who own their shops are in better shape, but still can't find good techs. Car repair isn't a high margin business, so if rental, tax, and regulatory compliance costs are high, there isn't much left to hire people, and nobody can afford to live here on a garage tech's income. Two mechanics that I've done lots of business with have been priced out due to rent - and the landlords overplayed their hand, the shops are now empty because nobody's willing to pay $120,000/year to rent a two stall garage (this appears to be the "market" rate off Independence/Old Middlefield).

We need more housing to make rents cheaper, we need more commercial space to keep our local businesses alive, otherwise, we'll end up an island of tech rotting in its own broken stuff with nobody around to fix it.

5 people like this
Posted by Darin
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2017 at 2:25 pm

Darin is a registered user.

Larry and Laurie and Louie and everyone else at Larry's AutoWorks, you will be missed. Thanks for the way you've supported The Rallye Club over the years, thanks for the way you've serviced my vehicles, and thanks for the way you've treated me as a customer.

5 people like this
Posted by Diablo
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 21, 2017 at 3:06 pm

I recommend Kevin's Auto, also on Leghorn, #1968. Been going there almost 20 years now. Great people there: Kevin, Tony, Fiona, et al.

2 people like this
Posted by susan hamilton
a resident of another community
on Mar 21, 2017 at 4:23 pm

We have been a loyal maintenance customer for many years and 5 different vehicles! Larry and Laurie are also now friends from many different community endeavors. Retirement is freedom...enjoy it!!! Then decide, after a year or so, what you want to do when you grow up! Forever, Susan Hamilton & Steve Bobay

1 person likes this
Posted by timetrip
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 21, 2017 at 11:54 pm

I chuckled when I read the headline, "Larry's AutoWorks closes down for good." At first I thought it meant "it is good that Larry's AutoWorks is closing." Of course, that is not the case, but I think "Larry's AutoWorks Closes Permanently" would have been better. (I also laugh when I see the commercial about a man who proudly boasts that he "dropped 40 lbs. on Jenny Craig.")

I am sorry that I never had the opportunity to patronize Larry's. It seems to have been a great place. I wish them well in their retirement -- it has turned out to be more fun for me than I expected.

Pedro's Auto Clinic on El Camino Real at Shoreline (1288 W. El Camino Real) is also a fine place to go for car repairs. Pedro has saved mine several times.

4 people like this
Posted by Janice
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 22, 2017 at 7:29 am

I highly commend Kevin's Auto. It's at 1968 Leghorn. My whole family goes there and has for over 20 years. Great customer service. Very knowledgeable.

5 people like this
Posted by DWT
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 22, 2017 at 4:53 pm

We also miss Larry's Auto Works - but Louis referred us to Helming's Auto Repair on Wyandotte. Took one of our cars in there this morning for routine service and were very pleased -- we'll be back with the other car soon.

2 people like this
Posted by Russ
a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Wishing Larry and Laurie the very best in retirement. I worked for them off and on during the 80's and 90's I for sure flew higher during the on times and crashed during the off times never judged my entrepuner spirit and welcomed me back at the lowest lows. They are two of the most decent kind and honest people one could have the privilege work for and get to know. Larry Laurie if you read this message reach out to me

Like this comment
Posted by MV Neighbor
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 20, 2017 at 11:26 am

Larry's had diagnosed my CAM sensor, but they closed down
I went to Shoreline Auto Care and they were very good at fixing my VW. I would highly recommend them based on my first visit experience. They are also more convenient to my house west of El Camino.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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