Mohammad Hormozfar, the owner of San Andres Hardware, was found dead in his residence in the back of the store last Wednesday just a few days shy of his 64th birthday. Hormozfar had owned the 38-year-old Westside establishment — one of the last two independently-owned hardware stores on the South Coast — since 2003 shortly after he immigrated to California from Iran.
Tony Becerra, owner of Tony Becerra’s Koei-Kan Karate-Do directly across the street, thought something might be amiss on Tuesday when the store did not open. On Wednesday morning, when Becerra saw that one of Hormozfar’s employees was locked out, he called 911. The employee notified Santa Barbara Locksmith who let in the police where they found Hormozfar deceased on a cot.
Hormozfar was married, but his wife split her time between Iran and the United States. He frequented the other businesses clumped around the intersection of West Micheltorenna and San Andres Streets, often eating at El Zarrape and Paesano’s and offering discounts to nearby merchants. “He was part of the community,” said Becerra. Hormozfar’s son, Ashkan, who lives in Orange County, said that he had already received over 50 telephone calls from Santa Barbara residents expressing their condolences. In describing his father, Ashkan said, “He was very kind to everybody, tried his best to help everybody he could. He loved to work. He always wanted to be active. He loved to help us to have a better life—me and my brother and my mom.”
Ashkan said that the cause of death has not yet been determined but that Hormozfar did have liver problems. The family has not yet decided what to do with the shop. Aside from his wife and two sons, Hormozfar is survived by a three-year-old granddaughter whom he visited weekly.