BY JACLYN ROSE –
Mark Campbell was always interested in street rods. He built his first car when he was 14 years old and drove it from California to Mena in the early 1960’s. The Campbell family owned and operated Campbell’s Dairy in Ink until the early 1980’s. Mark, a dairy farmer and milkman, thought it would be a good time to see if he could make a go selling hot rod parts and Street and Performance was born. His first few shows he simply had some sample graphics and a card table, which evolved into a business known worldwide throughout their industry.
Mark married his wife, Lisa, in 1985 and she works hand-in-hand with Mark’s daughter, Tammy Deramus, and her husband, Danny. Back in 1987, the Deramus’s married and both began helping in all aspects of the family business. “I tried to be a cosmetologist, but it didn’t go so well, and dad needed help in shipping, so I’ve been here ever since,” explained Tammy. “Danny started out polishing parts and now does whatever needs to be done. He is a seven day a week kind of guy and does whatever it takes. He’s dedicated and works hard. We all try to be able to respond to whatever area is needed and tackle it head on, because someone has to. We are lucky to have lots of long term employees out here who are also very committed. We feel like everyone here is family,” added Lisa.
Street and Performance employs 38 people and with dealers worldwide, they ship their parts all over the world. There are various businesses but they started by fashioning car parts out of raw materials. They have a finish shop where they polish and prime on site. And though they do not build full engines, they do make all the modifications to fit engines into vehicles. They also have a Hot Rod Shop where they take project vehicles and can fix them up completely.
Back during the dairy farming days, before Street and Performance, around 1976, Mark started the annual Rod Run in Mena with the help of the Arkansas Street Rod Association. At the time, cars met in what is now the Sear’s Parking Lot and it had nothing to do with his future business, according to Lisa, “it was just the ‘hot rodder’ in him coming out.”
This year Mena will celebrate the 40th Annual Queen Wilhelmina Mark Campbell Memorial Rod Run on August 27th through the 29th to honor Mark, who passed away on April 23, 2015 from pancreatic cancer. “This year as we honor Mark, people are coming from all over, from the Carolinas, Georgia, Kansas and California, and many other states. This has been a long standing tradition and people are going to keep showing up this weekend no matter what. We want to do his legacy proud in the business and the Rod Run and it means a lot to us as a family to see it continue for our kids and grandkids,” said Lisa. All proceeds from the Rod Run will go to the Our Promise Charity at the Genesis Cancer Center in Hot Springs. “The money stays local, so many people in Mena use this clinic and Dr. Divers. The money will help with transportation for local patients and overnight accommodations,” Lisa explained.
“We love Mena. It’s home. We enjoy the mountains and the people. Mark’s family was drawn here from California and it’s special that we all made the connection and ended up here,” said Lisa.