Yet over the years, he has expanded his operations on South Memorial Drive in Mount Pleasant, WI, to meet customer demand. He even bought a former warehouse, two doors north of his main facility, where he has stationed a couple of mechanics.
Between his flagship auto body business, the auto repair division and the car sales lot on Durand Avenue, Coey now employs 23 people. They are needed because AC Auto Body is typically scheduling work out two to three weeks ahead.
There's that much demand---and customer satisfaction---for the work that's done at AC. So what's the secret to the business' success?
"To be honest with you, there are so many mechanics that try to rip you off. Like my grandpa always said, you treat people the way you want to be treated and it will be good. He taught me good," Coey said.
A good crew is also important---and it's definitely a family affair at AC. Six family members and one of Coey's buddies from his high school days nearly 40 years ago are employed at AC.
Tony’s daughter, Ashley Coey, runs the office with the help of his niece, Tia Verikas, and Miranda Nobile, who recently joined the staff from a Kenosha auto parts business.
Investing in the business and keeping up on new technology are also important. In fact, in September, a new state-of-the-art spray booth was being installed.
"It practically does it itself. That will be nice," Coey said.
NOTE: Best of Racine County is an annual project of The Journal Times. From July 22 through Aug. 4, readers were invited to enter their choices online at www.journaltimes.com and on a paper ballot that was published in The Journal Times on July 22. AC Auto Body received the most votes in its category from The Journal Times' readers.