Forty years ago, Doug Keller stood in front of the white stone building on Main Street in Eustis, NE, and wondered what he had just gotten himself into.
At just 20-years-old, Keller was the proud new owner of that white stone building, which would soon become the first Eustis Body Shop location in the state. Keller remembers being excited and a little scared. He had just written a big check to purchase the building and wasn’t sure if he would ever be able to pay it back.
He didn’t know it then, but this building would be the first of many shops and the beginning of four decades of business in auto body repair.
Just months before this moment, Keller received his degree in auto body technology from Southeast Community College in Milford, NE. Cars had been a passion of his and he knew he wanted to turn this passion into a business.
But before he could get this business up and running, the white stone building would need some serious attention as it was not suitable to work in. With the help of his grandfather Clarence Keller, who had also loaned him money to purchase the shop and helped him every step of the way, Doug got to work with his father and brothers. They cleaned the building, repaired the leaky roof, and brought in the equipment needed to repair and paint cars. After three months of hard work, Eustis Body Shop opened its doors to customers and has served Eustis and the surrounding communities ever since. Now, the shop in Eustis has five employees and is managed by Jerud Banzhaf.
Eustis Body Shop also is affiliated with Eustis Mechanic Shop managed by Joe Bihlmaier. Bihlmaier started in the body shop location and then soon ran out of room. His shop was purchased in 2006 and is staffed with four mechanics.
In 1988, Eustis Body Shop expanded to Lexington, NE, when the local Ford dealership disbanded their auto body business. Managed by Dave Berke, a longtime employee, Eustis Body Shop built a new location, in 1994 just off the new west overpass in Lexington and is staffed with six employees.