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Monday, 07 June 2021 22:36

Steve's Paint and Body Shop in Bessemer City, NC, Celebrates 50 Years of Business

Written by Gavin Stewart, The Gaston Gazette
Steve and Sandy Jenkins stand outside their shop on Gastonia Highway in Bessemer City, NC, as Steve’s Paint and Body celebrates 50 years in business. Steve and Sandy Jenkins stand outside their shop on Gastonia Highway in Bessemer City, NC, as Steve’s Paint and Body celebrates 50 years in business. Mike Hensdill/The Gaston Gazette

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Things were a little more affordable in 1971, recalls Steve Jenkins, who opened Steve’s Paint and Body Shop in Bessemer City, NC, the same year. 

“Back in the day, you could buy enough paint to do a car for around $200. Today, my clearcoat costs $200. Things have changed,” said Jenkins, a lifelong resident of Bessemer City.

 

At age 24, he built a garage with three bays behind his home along Gastonia Highway.  

 

This year marks 50 years since Jenkins first rolled his garage doors open for business. There, he fixes fender benders---a service that has only increased in demand as more cars hit the road, according to Jenkins---and offers custom paint jobs for cars and motorcycles. 

 

Jenkins, a hot rodder from the moment he received a driver’s license, couldn't afford to have his cars painted professionally. He began dabbling in auto paint at his father’s service station along Gastonia Highway, now home to Eaves Farm Supply and Hillbilly Candle Factory

 

“I figured after so many years, if I’m going to do this, I might as well do it [as a business],” Jenkins said during a celebration for Steve’s Paint and Body Shop on June 4. 

 

Jenkins also painted cars and transporters for NASCAR in the 1980s before the league of stock race cars transitioned from traditional auto paint to vinyl wrap, commonly found on commercial vehicles.  

 

In 1990, Jenkins painted a 1951 Mercury Coupe, which was fully restored with some aftermarket modifications by Bessemer City resident Gary Stewart. Stewart is the grandfather of Gazette reporter Gavin Stewart, who recently drove the vintage Mercury in his wedding. 

 

Though he’s a one-man band nowadays, Jenkins...


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