By Brianna Flores
La Habra Journal
Nestled in next to Taqueria and across the street from Washington Middle School, Cannon’s Muffler Service has served the community of La Habra since 1975, thanks to dedication and a strong work ethic.
Before he opened a shop of his own, Dan Cannon worked at his father’s muffler shop since he was about 13 years old.
“That’s how I fell into this business. After I got out of school, I went to work and I’ve been working ever since,” Cannon said.
Cannon’s father agreed to help him open his first muffler shop on Whittier Boulevard, partially because rent was considered inexpensive at just $225 per month. Just 19 years old, he was determined to succeed – just as his father had.
Almost two years later, his father died of a heart attack at age 45.
“I lost my best friend,” Cannon said. “I had no one to ask how to do this, or how to do that. So it was like, swim or drown because my dad was gone.”
So he swam. And succeeded.
In 1995, Cannon moved from his first shop, one that only had two car racks, to his current location on East La Habra Boulevard.
Cannon’s Muffler Service is different from other automotive shops for a couple of different reasons. First off, it is a specialty automotive shop, focusing on exhaust systems only.
“I don’t do oil changes, I don’t do brake jobs,” said Cannon. “I don’t do what all these other muffler shops do. I’m fortunate that I can still make a living with one thing—exhaust only. It’s getting to be rare. You take any muffler shop and they’re basically a full automotive shop. It’ll say mufflers, but they’ll take in everything they can just to pay the bills because it’s getting tough.”
The automotive industry has changed immensely since Cannon first opened his doors. About two decades ago, automobile mufflers used to “rot out” and rust because they were built using steel and needed to be replaced every two to three years. Today, the industry has built a better product using stainless steel, which lasts much longer.
The second characteristic that distinguishes Cannon’s Muffler Service from similar automotive shops is honesty and commitment to his customers.
“I’m just not a crook,” said Cannon. “When people leave here they feel like, ‘Hey, that guy’s honest.’ I want you to feel like you’ve got an honest answer. That’s what my dad taught me. If I can’t help you I’m going to send you to someone that can. To someone that’s not going to treat you like a piece of crap and take your money just because you’ve got a credit card.”
He recalls learning that bad news travels much faster than good news and operates his business based on that notion. Although each day varies, anywhere from two to five vehicles are serviced daily.
Years ago, muffler shops were considered “fix-it” shops that were capable of fixing or welding nearly every type of metal. For this reason, Cannon explained that a variety of vehicles, metals and machinery are taken to his shop.
“I had a guy come in with a gardening trailer. Sometimes you just can’t believe some of the stuff that comes through the door,” he said.
Cannon serves as the owner, manager and the only employee at his muffler shop, but once a week, his oldest son, Kyle, visits and helps out his father. Cannon is grateful that his business has allowed him to maintain a close relationship with his family, especially his sons.
Customers from cities as far as Riverside and occasionally loyal customers from out of state take their vehicles to Cannon’s Muffler Service while they are in the area visiting family members.
There was a time when he was unsure if he would succeed in running his own muffler business.
“In the end, I ended up making it,” Cannon said.
Cannon’s Muffler Service
711 E. La Habra Blvd.
La Habra, CA.