COLORADO SPRINGS – For the past 25 years, people from all over the country have come to Mi Gente Customs in Colorado Springs to customize and build their own lowrider.
“Mi Gente means my people”, explained John MontaÃ±o Jr .. “We chose this name because it is not about us, but our people.”
MG Customs belongs to the MontaÃ±o family. Customers often call the store a candy store because of its unique inventory that includes tires, wheels, bike and car parts, clothing, salsa and more.
âAnyone can come here and get a taste of Hispanic culture through us,â Arlene MontaÃ±o-Lambert told FOX21 News.
Mi Gente was founded in 1995. While working in sales for Mama’s Tortillas, John MontaÃ±o Sr. purchased the store’s first location in Colorado Springs.
âI went there to do a tortilla sales pitch and ended up leaving and becoming the store owner,â MontaÃ±o Sr. said.
The goal of the MontaÃ±o family was to transform the original 1,300 square foot facility into a space where they could share their love of lowriding.
“We’ve always had a passion for lowriding,” said MontaÃ±o Jr.. “I remember going with my dad in his lowrider and flipping all those switches for him.”
It is believed that the lowriding culture began in California among the Latino community. Typically, a car’s springs are heated, the bumpers are etched, and all important hydraulic and pneumatic systems are installed to lower them.
âIt’s fun, I love people and seeing them get excited about their cars and enjoy them,â said MontaÃ±o Sr.
Each lowriding car is unique because different artists put their own touch on steel canvas. It’s a complex passion, but the movement began with humble roots.
âGetting parts from different places and trying to put something together was a creative outlet in itself,â MontaÃ±o-Lambert said. “They would then make him sail through the barrios.” ”
But low driving isn’t limited to four wheels. Lowriding bikes also shift gears and cruise slowly and steadily through southern Colorado and beyond.
âThe appetite for lowriding is passed on to our children with the bikes,â said MontaÃ±o Sr.
The MontaÃ±os believe that the culture of low riding has crossed several barriers and is now appreciated by all.
âHe’s grown up over the years and we’d like to think we’re helping southern Colorado with that,â said MontaÃ±o Jr.
MG Customs has been featured in several national magazines and won awards for its craftsmanship. This year is even more special as 2021 marks the company’s 25th anniversary. The MontaÃ±o family are proud to say that their operation is here for the long term.
âWe just want to let the Hispanic community and all communities know that we can all be united,â said MontaÃ±o Sr.