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Western States Import Co (WSI)-a Wholesale Distributor (Jobber) in Los Angeles, CA (see the picture gallery)
Item# Western States Imp [Western States Imp]
Categories: Who's Who-Wholesale Distributors (Jobbers), Employees & Sales Reps,
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Since Howie Cohen's passing, no items are for sale.
WSI was founded in about 1969 by Mitchell Weiner (Mitch). The company sold Centurion brand bicycles starting in about 1970, and in about 1979 developed the brand Diamond Back for BMX & Mountain Bikes. The majority of the WSI bicycles were produced in Japan at the beginning; but then when exchange rate fluctuations caused the US Dollar to be weak vs the Japanese Yen, some production was moved to Taiwan. The H. Tano Co of Kobe was the exporter that supplied WSI with the Japanese bicycles and parts. Isao and Masahiro Tano, the sons of the founder of Tano, worked closely with WSI. Two other Tano employees, Junya Yamakoshi (Cozy)  & Mukai-san were deeply involved with the WSI business. Mike Bobrick and Al Stonehouse were officers of the company in the later years. Additional pictures & text pending. See the picture gallery.

Picture Gallery for this Item (click images to enlarge)

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A Centurion head badge as used on the adult model bicycles

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This is the lead introduction page of WSI's 1972 catalog (a 3-ring notebook containing 69 pages (photocopies). Most of the pages contain the heading of Wil-Go Corporation. It appears that this was the period when the two companies merged together. I recall that Rick Wilson was involved with Wil-Go and that he and Mitch Weiner had an agreement regarding the merger of the 2 companies. As you can see from the Table of Contents, the company(s) caried a rather complete line of parts & accessories. There is a letter in the back of the notebook from Julio Marquevich of WSI to Paul Hinkston of WCCSC offering to sell us a #210 Baby Seat @ $2.25/each. This letter is significant because Paul Hinkston was an employee of Howie`s company at the time and shortly thereafter Julio joined WCCSC as a salesman and he became sales manager. The dimensions are 10 x 11 inches.

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The 165 page WSI catalog that was given to Bicycle Dealers (c. Mid 1970's). 

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Howie & Kay with daughter Leona and aunt Shirley Parrish, accompanied Mitchell's mother, Mama Weiner, on a European trip to Romania, Germany & Italy in 1981. Mama Weiner was born in Romania as was Howie's grandfather (Adolph Singer). We went to seek information about Howie's family history. This 1981 photo was taken at night outside of the wall at the Nazi Prison Camp & Extermination Facility in Auschwitz, Germany (near Munich). (L to R) Mama Weiner, Kay Cohen, Leona Cohen, aunt Shirley Parrish.

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