Formerly Vintage Metal Works and based near Cridersville, the newest member of the Chamber moved into a space in downtown Wapakoneta that owner Joe Patterson has been working on since purchasing the property in August.
In what was once the Mike Swaney car dealership, Patterson has transformed the space into Northwest Ohio’s only environmentally friendly, green auto body workshop.
The centerpiece of the new shop is the brand new Accudraft SS paint booth, which was an unexpected addition to the company’s offerings.
“We weren’t looking to buy new,” Patterson said. “But then we found this grant the State of Ohio was offering.”
The grant paid 30 percent of the total cost for the new paint booth.
“Off a $61,000 booth, 30 percent is a lot of money,” he added. “It was a no-brainer.”
The benefit of the state-of-the-art booth was not just a financial one.
“Because of it, we are considered a clean air facility now,” Patterson said. “Between that and another air cleaner we have just for cleaning the shop air, we’re a green body shop. In northwest Ohio, I think we’re the only one that’s considered a clean air body shop. It makes a huge impact on the community because we’re venting the air so well, you can stand on top of the building and not smell anything.”
The new paint booth will also help the shop keep business moving and cut down the wait times for customers.
“The biggest advantage of it is when we’re done, we hit a button, and it’s all computer-controlled, and it goes into a bake cycle, and it will cook that paint for 30 minutes at 160 degrees, and then go through a seven-minute cool-down cycle,” Patterson said. “When that’s done, I can take the part, put it on the car and send you home.
“It speeds up production an ungodly amount of time. We can do so much more work in such a short amount of time. That’s our baby, and that’s what will make or break us.”