Strauss Discount Auto at 2570 Coney Island Avenue.

SHEEPSHEAD BITES SCOOP: Venerable metro-area auto repair and supply store Strauss Discount Auto declared Chapter 11 Bankruptcy last night, spurring the surprise closure of more than 50 45 locations and laying off approximately 700 workers.

The sign in the window (click to enlarge)

Employees and customers of the chain were equally surprised this morning to arrive at locations in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to find gates down and signs in the windows declaring stores closed, and directing customers to call 800-787-4554, and employees to call supervisors. The chain’s website has been taken down and replaced with the same number for customer service.

Sheepshead Bites’ phone call to the company was answered by a merchandising rep taking calls on behalf of customer service. She informed us that the company had declared bankruptcy overnight, and that all branches were closed. She did not have specifics about the number of employees, but estimated it as more than 700 chain wide.

The company had nine stores in Brooklyn, 22 19 stores citywide and 53 45 stores in the entire metro area, according to a list of stores on an archived version of its webpage.

“That’s horrible,” said a frequent patron of the 2570 Coney Island location, who said he was friendly with the staff. “I pass by them everyday. They were just open yesterday. No one knew nothing.”

Two of the stores were in Sheepshead Bay. The following are all the Brooklyn locations of Strauss Discount Auto:

  • 3720 Nostrand Avenue
  • 2570 Coney Island Avenue
  • 183-207 Empire Boulevard
  • 225 McGuiness Boulevard
  • 527-39 4th Avenue
  • 208 Union Avenue
  • 2011-2031 Utica Avenue
  • 832 Pennsylvania Avenue
  • 2686 Atlantic Avenue

Customers with a car still held by Strauss Auto can call the above customer service numbers. Regional managers will be spending the next few days returning vehicles to their owners, the rep told Sheepshead Bites. The stores still appear to be fully stocked and untouched, with items lining the shelves.

Strauss Discount Auto was founded in 1919 in Newark, New Jersey, as Roth & Schlenger Home and Auto Supplies. It became the full-fledged chain New Yorkers know when it merged with Brooklyn-based Strauss stores in 1983, which owned five stores and a warehouse. The merger formed the largest retailer in the Northeast, consolidating about 70 stores, according to an archived page of the company’s history.

In 1987, the company acquired Penn-Jersey Auto Parts with location in Philadelphia and Delaware, and was later acquired by Merril Lynch Capital Partners.

The management team changed the company name to Strauss Discount Auto in 1995. Ownership changed hands several times until October 2010, when SDA Inc. acquired Strauss Auto, promising to “aggressively focus on Service, Tire and Repair segments,” with headquarters located in South River, New Jersey.

UPDATE (5:27 p.m.): The great hyperlocal site CliffviewPilot.com, based in New Jersey, picked up our report and added the following background about the company’s history with bankruptcy:

[In 1999], it filed for Chapter 11 after majority owner Japan’s Autobacs Seven Co. Ltd. stopped investing and called in its loans. Strauss listed assets of $75 million and liabilities of $72 million at the time.

The company was acquired in 2010 by SDA Inc., based in South River (Middlesex County), which promised to “aggressively focus on Service, Tire and Repair segments.”

It received certification for a joint reorganization plan from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, received a $10 million revolving line of credit from a Connecticut bank and set to work.

Employees at the time were protesting a two-year wage freeze and loss of pension funding.

The number of Strauss retail locations and automotive service centers in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania dropped from 73 in 2009 — and 86 just a few years earlier.

Strauss CEO Glenn Langberg called the reorganization plan “a key milestone in our ongoing restructuring efforts” and “the start of a new chapter in the history of Strauss Auto.”

CliffviewPilot.com also has the number of stores at 43, not 53. We’re looking to verify that number now.

UPDATE (6:02 p.m.): CliffviewPilot.com obtained the number of stores from a more recently archived page than we did. The number of stores on that page is actually 45. The story above has been updated to reflect the change.

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  • JR

    well this isn’t good… any other places to go?

    • PLIERS

      PEPBOYS MAYBE

    • guest

      No and that’s the problem.

    • Kevin L

      mom & pop auto repair places. i use the citgo station on nostrand (across from that strauss) or a place on Utica ave and ave o (across from 7-11 and the bus depot)

    • RFernandez
    • Jonathan Tow

      I’m the owner of Aamco Transmissions and Total car Care on the corner of Ralph ave. and Clarendon rd. I’m giving all previous customers of any Strauss stores a 15% discount on all services needed. The do all repairs from wiper blades to engines. The store number is 718-773-6535 and the address is 1266 Ralph ave. Brooklyn NY 11236. Thanks Jon

      • Fredusmc1977

        Do you stand by your work, like they did ?, i never had a problem with them, i’m from queens and they were great to me and my SUV

  • Guest

     50 stores and 700 employees? that’s roughly 14 employees per store. Seems kinda small

    • Deb F

       Tell that to my son who is now out of a job with a baby on the way.

      • ShadowLock

         Can always Sell drugs……………….. Legal drugs that is, like tell him to apply to duane reade, or Some russian pharmacy make sure he’s dressed to impress though.

        • http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/ Ned Berke

          Well, that’s a pretty cruel an unnecessary comment. You own a business, Shadow. Couldn’t you be more helpful to a neighbor and consider the man for a job?

          • levp

            Maybe we should order all our signs online…

  • http://twitter.com/nicktherat Nick the Rat

    sheepshead bay is turning into a ghost town. happy i left! gravesend ftw ;P

    • applegreen

      yep, u moved a whole ocean away. 

    • frankiev

      The U.S. is becoming a ghost town.

      • levp

        Let’s see: no manufacturing (too expensive), no retail (buy online), not even support call centers (outsourced), and so on.

        One could become a bus driver or a teacher – wait, whom am I kidding?! (“Public sector cuts dragging down US’s already fragile economic recovery” http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/may/31/public-sector-cuts-us-economy )

        So what’s left to do?  Well, you could be a politician or a financial manager (preferably both)…

  • BOSB

    Interesting, they emerged from an earlier bankruptcy about 18 months ago.  Guess the fix then didn’t stick.

    http://www.tirebusiness.com/subscriber/headlines2.phtml?cat=1&id=1286572800

  • NoMoreStrauss

    Was in the store on Nostrand Ave several weeks ago and all the shelves were almost bare.  When asked, the clerk didn’t answer.  So, I guess all the workers knew that
    something was up.

    I did like Strauss Stores, even though the workers at the Nostrand Ave. store were extremely lazy and acted like they were doing you a favor when you asked for a product.

    • RFernandez

      Funny – I never had that problem. I always found them helpful – once you found someone. It always seemed that they never had anyone working in that store. 

    • Rpell1

      When I asked the same question back then, I got an explanation from the Manager and a worker saying that Strauss was contracting an entirely new set of suppliers and was clearing their shelves to accomodate the new merchandise.   They were told all would be back to normal in a couple of weeks.

      It was obvious from their demenor that they honestly believed this to be true.

      So, as far as Strauss owners are concerned, “screw the workers”…Bah, Humbug!!

      • Whwsailboat

        Was there last month and asked “when are you closing” as the shelves were bare; answer “we’re not closing!” Went to Auto Zone on Flatbush and Ave L.

        • TEARSOFBLOOD2010

          Did you ever think that thats what they were told to say? I just got layed off from a strauss store two days ago. Being a sales associate you have no power over the managers and you listen to what they tell you. would you really sit there and say yea we are going out of business to a customer? NO. you do as your told. especailly if you want to keep your job a little while longer. and if someone was rude im sorry but “Are you going out of business, the shelves are really bare” gets old after litterally the first hundred times asked.

    • Justachln

      Same here, when i went to the nostrand Ave location to pick up some wipers, the whole wiper section was bare. I had to get my wiper from the counter and it was this no -name brand…  smh

    • Tom bentley

       I  was  in  the Nostrand  Ave  and  Coney Island Ave  stores  several  times  in last few  months  and  also  noticed  the  bare  shelves.  Nobody  could  give  me  an  answer when  I  commented  that  the  store  looked  like  it  was  preparing  to  close. When  your  suppliers  aren’t   being  paid,  they  stop  sending  stock. Too  bad  for  the  folks  who’ve  lost  jobs.

    • DaWitchDocta69

      Store on Atlantic ave in East New York only had some polished lube tires & motor oils it looked like a business going under

  • a good neighbor

    ah damn it! now where else would I go for quality car care products???

  • AIG_Quant

    shit overpriced store. Stick to amazon for a cheap and great selection of car care products. Youll find that car parts and tires are cheaper online.

    • guest

      and here in lies the problem. Online online online. Nobody goes out anymore. The internet has damned us.

      • AIG_Quant

         wtf. you buy online and save money. then take the money you saved and go out and enjoy yourself at a fancy restaurant like Mcdonalds

        • levp

          Sometimes it is really hard to figure out what is sarcasm and what is not.

        • ShadowLock

           LMAO!

        • 90SBROOKLYN

          real smart….small business that sell shit are all going out of business…things like,food,hair and getting buried are the only things that are able to stay open….enjoy your McDonalds but my friend,the funeral home will have your business soon

          • nolastname

            You forgot funeral parlors and doctors.

      • 90SBROOKLYN

        truth…people that laugh just cant comprehend what is going on.

      • nolastname

        I know several people who swore many years ago they would not be part of the internet revolution they knew it would lead to control and a lack of privacy.  
          We will all be buying, selling and paying bills on line. There will be only huge box stores, sorry Mom and Pop.
           A cashless society soon to follow. So all you hoods start hoarding change at least the metal will be worth something. 

    • SmartShopper

      LOL  buying car care products online.  Get real, if you need a certain part now, you want it now, not tomorrow, not next week, but now. 
      You see what you get when you go to the store.  You can check it out.  If you buy it and don’t like it, you can return.  

      Try doing that on line.   Get real !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Gearhead

    really, no other places to go?

    how about AUTOZONE?

  • us citizen

    Its not like the old days when  you could have fun replacing your own distribution cap

    • levp

      But you can replace a bulb or windshield wipers, can’t you?

      • us citizen

         thats not fun

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=835165231 Shelomo Alfassá

    The store on Coney Island Ave has been bare for a year

  • Greg

    I’ve been going to the Part Monster now, they opened on Mcdonald avenue, between Ave Neck road and Ave W. They’re cheaper than strauss anyway.. I’ll try and find a receipt with the exact address.

  • Maxpowerz

     I worked at the store pictured.. absolutely no communication within the company as to what was going on.

  • Greg

    2367 Mcdonald avenue, The Part Monster, purchased original BMW brakes from them last week and an aftermarket alternator. 

  • Cyclerock

    For replacement car parts, I can’t see buying online when you have your car apart and you need a set of brake pads to get back on the road.  

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  • Pissedoff

    They Suck! I am a supplier that Strauss has f’d for 10k. They have pulled this shit more than once. This is their 4th bancrupcy in 10 years. I hope the management ends up living on the street for running this company into the ground. What a bunch of pieces of shit!

    • Jasong12

      Pissedoff, which store did you sell them from? I have a shop.

      • SHOPRITE21

        U TALKING ABOUT THE AIRLESS TIRE,,THIS TIRE IS NOT ON THE MARKET YET,,BUT IT WILL BE SOON
        The Airless Tire Project 

  • Jp1062

    As a 5 year employee of this company, i wonder how many of you know what it is like to find out you do not have a job by someone else’s post ? This company Never let on that they were closing ALL its stores , there deception goes deep, I have a lot of co-workers who have new babies . just bought houses ,etc . when I first started with this company our union was fighting a labor dispute strauss filed bankruptcy but wanted to give all its senior people huge bonuses our union fought this, So here is another scenario where the working man struggles and the no does nothing

    • Not Saying,

      My husband worked for Struass for over 8 years. Yesterday he stayed to 8:30 to finish a job. And that was way past his shift. He has many times stayed from 7:30am untill like 9 at night as they needed him to stay. He would even work on his day off if they needed help. He sometimes even worked 7 days a week. But yet they do not care. I am sure the CEOs are still living the high life and we will have to stuggle.

    • http://twitter.com/RepubDirtyTrick Taradacktyl

      You can rest assured the big bosses walked away with cushy pensions and golden parachutes while the working stiff gets the shaft AGAIN.  We need a worker’s revolution in this country.

  • Shithole

    I worked at the location pictured above … Our district management and who’ve above ofnthe are scumbags nobody told us anything all they said was yea were not closing were getting merchandise in we heard that for 7 months we were asked ” are you going out of business” 130 times a day it was ridiculous this company didn’t care about their works their union was even worse just robbed it’s employes on a weekly basis. Ownership putnthis company to it’s graves because we didn’t have issues with auto zone when things were actually going good working for the store wasn’t bad working the company it’s self was like slavery.

    • Realist2

      Mark Rubin is a Fat Slobby douchebag!!

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  • FormerEmployee

    I worked for the company for 11 yrs, I’m glad I left when I did, I feel so bad for the people that are out of work now, I saw this coming

    • HAPPY HE LEFT!

      My husband worked for this company for 18+ yrs in NJ. He has been to many of their locations to clean up the mess a lot of people left (people who were promoted to management because of who they knew in the head office and not because they deserved it). He worked mostly 7 days. He worked from open to close most of the time and when he requested time off it was always an issue. Management never cared about their employees. thank God he left and started working for himself… I feel bad for the GOOD people who lost their jobs but some of thE a$$hole$ that were there KARMA IS A BITCH! WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND!

      • not surprised

        Definitely, in the years I worked there, the only ones who got promoted were those that kissed ass. Most of those in the management positions had no business being there. The most annoying part was when mini-me, the vice presidents son, basically had no position for the longest time. He just went from store to store, annoying the staff. And then one day gets a district manager position. What a laugh. As you said, KARMA IS A BITCH!!! Toooooooo bad some of the jackasses were already gone.

  • The Part Monster

    Hi, we’re so sorry to hear about the closing of the strauss stores, someone called us yesterday letting us know we were mentioned on the site and we went to read about the closing. In the comments, we see some of you worked for strauss. We are looking for a couple employees with autoparts knowledge at our mcdonald avenue location, The Part Monster 

    call us at 877-526-9955 and ask for Management. Thank you, and g-d bless anyone else who cannot find a job from this!

  • Crgshd

    This could be beginning of the end for retail auto shops. As more consumers shift to electric cars the demand for these these auto chain stores will continue to decline. Auto mechanics will still be needed, but cars operating on batteries will decrease their workforce.

    • http://twitter.com/MarkPak Mark S.

      Huh? Electric cars aren’t exactly flying off lots. With people keeping their cars longer people will need these things more than anytime in the last 20 years. I feel sorry for the people who are now out of a job and wish them the best. The employees were always polite but the selection quite lacking.

    • Brooklynguy4810

      Huh? Retail auto shops are in high demand again with this horrible economy. Many citizens have horrible credit and can’t even lease a vehicle for $200/month so the used car market has boomed again as well especially for high milleage vehicles they can afford.

      About Strauss. It was a decent rapair shop but they have been squeezed by the Midas’s(Mieneke/Aamco) of the world and later by Pep Boys. Unfortunately, they were problably behind all three which isn’t saying much in regards to repair trust..

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  • Hot_Sauce1

     I worked at strauss for 6 years and i saw this coming, and i could tell you one thing the company doesn’t care about the workers the managers are slave drivers and all they want the mechanics to do is work like a slave so that they could make the labor. At the end of the day the store manager gets the bonus. No matter how hard you work for them the one day you don’t produce they wanna ride down on you and say that your lazy. Im glad that i got out of there just in the nick of time but i feel sorry for the few friends that i have that still worked there..

    • Ronniebegone

      I am also a former employee who worked for strauss over 8 years. Ive been gone for 2 years and its the best thing i could of done. I was a store manager who did care about my employees. I was not put in my position because i slept with a DM as some have. I cared about my job busting my butt working 14 hour days twice a week (from opening to close).They had management working over 3 years with no raises,and the so called bonus was a bunch of bull because they would give you a budget that was unachieveable. Not only was I an employee but I was also a customer.All my warrantied items are no longer. Even as a former employee it hurts the way they did management and the sales associates. No notice,no nothing. The higher ups who worked at corporate were the ones responsible for running the company into the ground!! After the 2nd bankruptcy filing they should of gotten rid of the so called upper management who were responsible for making the everyday decisions for the company. I feel for the emplyees who gave their all and got nothing in return.

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  • Tmc80tmc

    Wow, tight lipped about bankruptcy, then boom! I ALMOST bought tires from them, but decided to wait.. that was a good idea because I would have to wipe my ass with the road hazard warranty when they go out of business. Still, there is enough pent up demand for someone to come in and buy them post bankruptcy for pennies on the dollar.. Probably the next most reliable CHAIN would be Sears, no? feel free to chime in..

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  • Guest

    One of the reasons caused this company to bankruptcy owning to some employees, staffs of management made the company down because they were impolite and unprofessional attitudes with long faces all times and the owner had responsibility as well.  This is one of my true stories, some employees (counter person and mechanics) even yelled to me with hammers and tools in their hands in a Brooklyn, NY store, but I only ask them one question and did nothing to them, they made me very upset, and I doubted that the management allowed their employees threatening their customers and doing this bad things to their customers.  Retailers major income resources are from customers and they treated customers like this = chasing money out of their stores and company. Thus, I could see someday they must go to bankruptcy and unemployment happened because of their unprofessional attitudes for their business and jobs.  This is reality in a competitive + bad economic environment that they were played out!

  • http://twitter.com/RepubDirtyTrick Taradacktyl

    What a shame.  I had my car serviced there all the time.  Sounds like Romney’s company Bain Capital got a hold of them.  The rich gots richer… the working stiff gets a kick in the ass.  Time for a worker’s revolution and a NEW, New Deal. 

  • DeLaRosaLawncare

    This is what happens to a business that has ZERO management oversight…. I have made several visits to Strauss Store locations in the NYC area only to find less & less inventory empty shelf’s and bitter employees having to deal with bitter customers. A clear recipe for FAILURE. Do I have a solution to fix this problem YES but I’m NOT doing it for FREE……….   I will try to contact Strauss Discount Auto Senior Management and if they GET their heads out of their ass. Maybe just maybe the problem can be fixed.

    • NY Strauss Customer

       I agree with your view. Strauss has been in the dark when it comes to customer service. It was only a matter of time.

  • BigBoss

    Anyone having warranty issues? If thats the case you have warranty and u havent been answer we putting up a big case with ove 250 custumers 257 to be exact to file a suit to arange our matters.

  • GODsFrankie597

    I worked at the 86st store ’83-’85,the store had a great team mentally…if we didn’t have the part,we got it for you,I’ve always thought R&S Strauss/Strauss Discount auto,was the best place to go…However,we must be prepared for more of the same…corporate America cares only for the “shareholders”& themselves,foreign investors sabotaging Great American companies…Made in America = Jobs for Americans…even for Forien Americans

  • Yamanbam

    I am extremely upset because i had my brakes done at one of their store the week before they closed and it came with a 2 year warranty, and my brakes are squeeking and now i can’t even go back to them.  So it’s like i just spent my money with them and it partially went down the drain because i need to go back but now they’re closed.  Anyone know what to do? Are they offering any deals with other companies to honor contracts?

  • Tracy hudson

    what am i going to do about my life time brakes warranty

  • EH

    This is messed up.  I bought a new set of tires from them earlier this year w/the road hazard warranty & one of them has a slow leak already.  Who is honoring this warranty?

  • shelly

    I used to work for them years ago. When the japanese company bought them out in 2006 (I think that is when they bought it), the focus changed from service & retail to mostly service. The retail floor in one of the locations I worked at went to about half the space. I was in the location one week talking to an employee & then drove past it the following week & it was closed.

    I spoke with someone who said that an employee told her they were notified on a Friday that come Monday, they would all be out of a job. Customer vehicles & tech tool boxes all locked up, nice way to treat customers & employees, especially those that need their tools to work. 

    I believe this is the 4th or 5th bankruptcy for the company since 1999.

    • not saying.

      Yes thats what happend to my husband. He gets a call and they tell him he only has 45 mins to get his tool box. So he was all rushing around trying to get everything out in 45 mins and because he was rushing he left some stuff behind. He worked for a company for 8 years and they treat you like you a piece of garbage on the sidewalk by rushing you like that. Luckily my husband got another job a week later.

  • B

    I NEED MORE YELLOW MILK CRATES!!!!

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  • Mike

    Is anyone honoring their road hazard warranties?

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