It’s tough enough, even in the best of times, to buy a second shop that needs updating.
But when you buy that shop and a pandemic hits that keeps people at home and off the roads, that’s a real challenge.
Jon Wise started his collision repair career right out of high school, at Body Crafters Auto Body in Broadhead, WI.
After a few years, Wise decided to strike out on his own and open Midwest Fox Rods, a small shop in Rock City, IL, where he combined his love of building custom cars and trucks with some collision work to help pay the bills.
He partnered with a technician who was supposed to specialize in mechanical work. But soon his potential partner bailed, out leaving Wise on his own.
Undaunted, Wise carried on and his reputation in both collision work and custom work grew. People were coming to him for miles around for everything from quality collision repair to customizing modern Mustangs to classic Chevelles.
Then Wise hit a patch of bad luck, and through a series of bad turns, he found himself homeless. With nothing else to do, and a need to survive, Wise worked in his shop 16 to 18 hours a day and slept on a couch in his office when he got tired.
Eventually things turned around, his reputation grew, business improved and he hired two other techs to help him.
As both the collision repair and customizing businesses improved, Wise knew he needed a bigger shop. One evening, while having a casual dinner with the people who still owned Body Crafter Auto Body, the first shop where Wise worked, a discussion ensued about how the present owners wanted to retire and get out of the business.