April 30, 2012 by Rider Newsletter Staff
We at The Rider Newsletter want to take a moment and shine light on the passing of Ed Savko, owner of The Rock Store, dies at the age of 86.
In April, the motorcycling world lost a man who became a legend when he and his wife transformed a simple country store in the southern California hills into one of the most famous and popular motorcycling destinations in the world. Maybe THE most famous.
The Rock Store is a small building made entirely of volcanic rock. Located in Malibu Canyon, near Cornell, California, the site has seen a lot of history. In the early 1900s, it was a stagecoach stop. During the depression, it is rumored to have been owned by a bootlegger. In later decades, it became a resort, offering hot springs and smooth whiskey. Major celebrities of the day, including Cecil B. DeMille and Rudolph Valentino became regular customers, seeking to enhance their health by soaking and drinking. During and immediately after the Second World War, it was a gas station.
In 1961 Ed Savko, a WWII veteran from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and his wife Veronica (aka Vern) purchased the building and opened a general store and restaurant. Ed had noticed The Rock Store while working in the area as a bread delivery driver. The business got off to a rocky start (bad pun intended). When Ed began parking his motorcycle out front, it caught the attention of passing bikers who began to stop for a bite to eat, get supplies for the road and talk with fellow motorcycle enthusiasts.
As the surrounding area grew, so did the Savko’s business. Drawn by the twisty mountain roads and incredible vistas, motorcyclists would travel Mulholland Highway and stop at The Rock Store for a hearty breakfast or a burger. When the legendary Steve McQueen became a regular customer, The Rock Store’s fame grew by leaps and bounds.
Over the years The Rock Store became the number one attraction for bikers from southern California, including many famous riders from Hollywood. Today, it is, without a doubt, a “must see” attraction for motorcycle enthusiasts and star gazers alike. Jay Leno is known to frequent The Rock Store, driving whatever unusual vehicle he has most recently acquired. Other famous customers include Ewan McGregor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, James Cameron, Hulk Hogan, John Goodman, Nick Nolte and KD Lang.
Ed and Vern became as famous as the store itself, greeting and talking with customers from all over the world. Their friendly manner and enthusiasm for motorcycles drew people to them. After running the business for more than 50 years, Ed Savko died of congestive heart failure in April. A memorial was held for Ed at The Rock Store, drawing a huge crowd of riders and fans. To see a series of photos from the memorial, click here.
Ed’s wife, their son Richard, daughter Sandra Clark and the rest of the family have stated their firm intention to keep The Rock Store up and running. So far, they have not skipped a beat.
Here are a few links related to The Rock Store: