It may be one of Ridgecrest’s best-kept secrets.

Not everyone knows it, but if you can’t make it to the DMV during its regular hours, you can take care of a lot of its business at Mo’s Auto Lien Sale Service. Tucked away on a residential street in Ridgecrest, the office is easy to miss but it handles California titling needs including vehicle registrations, transfers, renewals and lien sales.

“We are actually a full-service DMV,” Cassandra Valenzuela said Wednesday. “We provide lien sales, dismantler processing for junkyards and salvage yards and we also do auto transfers, renewals, duplicates on anything motor-related.”

However, Mo’s Auto Lien does not handle driver’s licenses.

Hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., but “if they are going to come a little later I just ask that they call and make sure I am home,” said Valenzuela. She added that weekend hours may be possible by arrangement.

Valenzuela told the Daily Independent she wanted to let people know when it comes to vehicle registration, there is another option. She spoke highly of the workers at the local DMV, but noted that not everyone can get down there easily during their regular hours, and some people may find it too crowded.

“I really wanted to get the word out there for our elderly folks who can’t make it to the DMV” as well as people who find it difficult to get to the DMV due to their work hours, she said.

Mo’s Auto Lien Sale Service is a family-owned business. Valenzuela took it over in 2013 after her grandmother Maureen Renfroe retired. Renfroe founded Mo’s in 1993, starting with lien sales and junk processing. Valenzuela said the business now does lien sales for most of the tow companies in town. The business expanded to handling vehicle registrations after Valenzuela took over.

The business is named after Renfroe, “Mo” being short for “Maureen.” Valenzuela said her grandmother deliberately went with a masculine-sounding name.

“Back in the ’90s it was a man’s world still and women in junkyards weren’t very common, so she went with Mo as opposed to Maureen,” Valenzuela explained. She added that many people call her Little Mo or Mo Jr. She doesn’t mind.

“I just go with it. As long as you don’t call me a bad name I don’t care,” she said with a laugh.

Valenzuela said Mo’s is able to do DMV business thanks to a partnership with Samba Safety. She said Mo’s is technically considered a second-line business provider and Samba is a first-line business provider for the DMV. She said, however, that Mo’s is considered a full-service DMV.

“When I process my transactions I send them to them and then they send them to the DMV. They audit them and make sure everything is correct. As long as they are they send them down to the DMV, we are good to go,” she said.

Valenzuela said if people show up prepared they can be issued registration immediately. “As long as they have all their forms together they will leave with a sticker and a new registration card,” she said.

She also emphasized that she tries to educate her customers. Sometimes, she said, she can actually legally give out more information than the DMV.

“I really strive to let my customers know everything they are getting into, especially with lien sales. I try to always give them the most information I can,” she said.

Talking to Valenzuela, it is hard not to see the gratitude she has for her grandmother. Her current business cards as well as the sign out front still make use of Renfroe’s original design.

“I would mostly like to credit my grandmother for being smart and investing in something, giving me fruit to live off my whole life,” she said. “She actually created our program that allows us to do these things, our liens and our junks. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be here.”

Valenzuela said she maintains a close relationship with Renfroe. She joked that at 67 her grandma is more active than she is.

“She is my confidant, she is my everything,” she said.