Based on an award-winning New York Television Festival pilot, HARD PARTS: SOUTH BRONX is national cable television network SPEED's intense new primetime television series that debuts with a Special Preview on May 19, immediately following this year's running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race from Charlotte Motor Speedway. Weekly episodes of the show can be seen every Thursday at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT premiering May 24.
"It's about my customers, as they want everything right now - or yesterday - they want it as fast as possible," Joe Ferrer said. "But as fast as they want the parts, they don't always pay in the same amount of time. Those are some of the difficulties you go through with a business like this. The economy is not exactly the best of times for any of us - it's a fight. It's a battle every single day."
"The stakes are clear," added Mark Hickman, NorthSouth Productions Executive Producer & Partner. "If something is wrong with your car and you can't get to school, you can't get to work or you can't deliver a pizza - it's alarming. In some form or fashion everyone relies on their automobile and it's the unsung heroes of the parts business that keep a lot of those cars going.
"What you see in the program is very real, so much so, the store is like an emergency room, but with more energy and excitement," Hickman continued. "Their clients demand that BS&F get them the part quickly. So it really is that kind of incredible pace and energy, from the minute the store opens at 7 a.m. until it closes at 5 p.m. It is a challenge to shoot because we are producing during the course of their business day. We sometimes want his (Joe Ferrer's) attention to a scene or something we need to capture, but he's more interested in getting a muffler out to his client - which is what he does."
The depth of this story is also moving, as three generations of the Ferrer family have literally given everything to insure BS&F flourishes. A lone black chair holding a posthumous picture of Joe's father is an omnipresent reminder.
"My father had been in the auto parts business for about 40 years," Ferrer said. "Before he had an auto parts store, he had a gas station for about 10 years. My father passed away a few years ago, and I'm pretty much keeping on the tradition of the business."
"Joe is a classic American character," Hickman explained. "There are so many things driving Joe to succeed in this business - beyond money. It's the pride and sense of accomplishment. It's a business he grew up in; his personal identity is very much related to this. I think Joe is smart enough, driven enough, that he could go out and run a number of businesses, but this one is personal. This one he takes home with him.
"Joe's grandfather died on the job. Joe's father died on the job. In Joe's opinion, their family has literally given up their lives to make this work," Hickman added. "It is Joe's dare to do it. Joe is a classic in that he is a hard-ass, tough-as-nails South Bronx task master - with a heart of gold. Ultimately, you see him get down on the guys he works with, demand a great deal from them, but he then just as quickly, supports and wants to give them the opportunity to grow. It's a really cool character study in motivation and driver in management."
Amid the trouble of an ailing vehicle, the South Bronx lifestyle is also uncovered. From the impossible-to-satisfy taxicab repair business, to the occasional mobile attorney in an RV, there's never a dull moment at BS&F. Ferrer takes a look at a place he's lived his entire life, and has shaped how his family's business was built.