Brother and Sister Team Keep Flip’s Tire Center Rolling
San Fernando Valley Business Journal
January 19, 2009
Tire dealer created business group in Valley to fight crime
Los Angeles Times
June 27, 2008
Local tire dealer 'larger than life'
Daily News Los Angeles
June 25, 2008
VAN NUYS Crime Fighter Undaunted by Troubled Times
Los Angeles Times
March 9, 1994
By Valerie J. Nelson
Philip “Flip” Smith, a longtime Van Nuys tire dealer who expanded the neighborhood watch concept in Los Angeles to businesses, an innovation that reduced crime along the Sepulveda Boulevard corridor, died Monday. He was 61.
Smith died of liver cancer at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Woodland Hills, said his daughter, Kristin Dietz.
In the early 1990s, Smith formed the Sepulveda Boulevard Business Watch, eventually pulling together about 300 businesses along a seven-mile stretch to clean up and police the thoroughfare.
The group was the first of its kind in Los Angeles, according to the Greater San Fernando Valley Chamber of Commerce.
“He was like the Pied Piper. He could get anybody to do anything,” said Nancy Hoffman Vanyek, chief executive of the chamber group. “He knew how to make people want to help.”
Volunteers painted over graffiti and swept streets and sidewalks. They planted medians and persuaded businesses to improve lighting. They successfully campaigned to modify pay phones to make only outgoing calls, which hampered the ability of drug dealers and prostitutes to do business.
Within months, drug dealing, prostitution and graffiti had been dramatically reduced. The program is now used in several Valley communities.
For his community involvement and dedication to fighting crime and urban decay, Smith received the Fernando Award, which recognized volunteerism in the Valley, in 1997.
Philip Arthur Smith was born Sept. 21, 1946, in Lynwood and grew up in Sherman Oaks. His father owned a Santa Monica tire store.
After graduating from Notre Dame High School in 1964, Smith attended Valley College.
In 1972, he opened Flip’s Tire Center in Van Nuys. More recently, he added Flip’s Performance Concepts, an after-market auto accessories store, at the same location.
Since the early 1980s, Smith had been involved in community organizations and twice chaired the Valley chamber group. Through the Rotary Club, he founded an annual track meet at Birmingham High School in Van Nuys for at-risk youth and established a youth leadership program.
“It just seems the more stuff you get done, the more stuff you realize you can do, and the more people are willing to help you,” Smith, who often wore Hawaiian shirts, told The Times in 1996.