Hillyard Rim Lions to launch online business
Retail division will be closing Nov. 30
Even as the brick-and-mortar division winds down, Hillyard Rim Lions promises to remain the king of the jungle when it comes to automotive wheels and tires.
Originally called Nand Sihra and Sons — Hillyard Auto Body when it opened Nov. 9 1979, the business was previously known for converting Lincolns and Cadillacs into dual-axel stretch limousines.
Seven years ago, the Rim Lions moved from Hillyard Street just around the corner to the current Burlington Street site.
After 39 years, the retail division is closing at the end of November.
In some ways, the Wheel Lions are retiring. But in others, they’re just doing things differently, as Amar Sihra explains.
The Rim Lions will continue to offer the same selection of rims and tires — they currently have over 500 rims in stock — using an online platform at rimlions.com. By next year, says Amar, the business will be equipped to ship products directly to consumers’ front doors. Installation instructions will be available online for do-it-yourselfers, or customers can choose from a list of recommended local tire shops.
Even without a retail presence, connecting with customers won’t be a problem, Amar insists.
“We’re very predominant on social media, like Instagram,
Facebook, YouTube,” says Amar, the son of business founder Chico Sihra. “We have millions of YouTube views on our custom cars and tire videos that we do.”
Amar estimates the Rim Lions videos are getting 360,000 views every month from viewers around the world.
Video updates, including tire reviews, will continue well into the future.
“We still have the same connections with tire companies and they still send us the newest tires
to review,” says Amar.
When the shop closes and staff members have more free time available, Amar and his cousin AJ plan to resume their passion for writing and recording hip hop music and producing videos. Chico hopes to pursue his interests in Bollywood films. He previously released one such film in India and another in Canada.
Amar plans to offer a weekly YouTube live broadcast, where customers can join the conversation and ask real-time questions.
Along with boasting the largest selection of in-stock wheels in Hamilton — if not Canada — the Rim Lions are known as the home of the world’s biggest wheel, a 50-inch wire rim. The business offers custom-made wheels in almost any colour.
“Basically, we can put wheels on any vehicle, wheels that are ready-made or made from scratch,” says Amar.
Over the years, Amar and the staff have made many friends through the business, including
NHL players like Zac Rinaldo and hip hop artist Riff Raff.
Amar and the staff have also taken the TV world by storm with Rim Lions Reality TV, which has aired on Cable 14, as well as CHCH TV and OLN.
Despite their plans to close the shop and eventually sell the property, Amar says it’s a happy occasion for the family.
“We wanted to finish our career on top. Everybody’s healthy and we wanted to finish while we were ahead.”
Amar Sihr of Hillyard Rim Lions, in 2014, with a custom 50-inch chrome wheel rim. It’s the largest wheel rim in the world and valued at $20,000.