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Blowtherm Spray Booth Still Going Strong After Nearly 3 Decades at Tag’s Auto Inc.

Owner Don “Tag” Tagliapietra appreciates his Blowtherm equipment's longevity, low maintenance and quality performance.

Proper maintenance has kept this 1,700,000-hour Blowtherm spray booth and prep station combination running like the day it was installed at Tag’s Auto Inc. in Clintonville, WI.

When Don “Tag” Tagliapietra graduated from high school with experience as a mechanic, he wanted to open his own auto repair shop. However, his 1-A status meant he would likely be drafted by the military, so he enlisted in the U.S. Army. In 1961, at the age of 21, Tagliapietra was discharged from the Army and he could finally establish Tag’s Auto Inc. in his hometown of Clintonville, WI.

Tag’s Auto Inc.
Clintonville, WI

Company At A Glance...
Type: Collision and Mechanical Repair, Vehicle Sales
Facility Employees: Four
In Business Since: 1961
Number of Locations: One
Production Space: 7,200 square feet

He may have gotten his business off the ground a few years later than intended, but Tagliapietra has more than made up for lost time — 2024 is his 63rd year running his shop, and he has no plans to retire.

“I love what I do,” Tagliapietra said. “I have an unbelievable business and an impeccable reputation, and it means the world to me. Most people my age are retired but that’s the last thing I want to do.”

Blowtherm Tags SIDE Tag LoriOwner “Tag” Tagliapietra, 84, left, is still going strong with his “other half” and office manager, Lori Blum, right.

Tag’s Auto started out doing mechanical repairs only, but now it also offers used vehicle sales, 24- hour towing and collision repair. It operates out of a 7,200-square-foot building it relocated to in 1972, and employs an office manager, mechanic and two collision repair technicians.

In 1996, Tagliapietra decided it was time to invest in a downdraft paint spray booth, so he attended the National Autobody Congress and Exposition (NACE) in Orlando, FL, to do some research. After seeing and comparing all the popular spray booths set up and running on the show floor, Tagliapietra chose a Blowtherm Ultra Prep station and Ultra 2000TM Booth.

Both were installed that same year, and today — nearly 28 years later — Tag’s Auto has put 1,030,734 actual hours on the booth and 638,622 on the prep station, all with stellar results and minimal maintenance.

“This was probably the higher-priced one of everything I looked at, but I could see the quality of this spray booth,” Tagliapietra said.

“The Blowtherm booth is truly unbelievable quality,” Tagliapietra said, pointing out the amount of money he’s saved on maintenance over the years as proof positive of that.

“That spray booth is used every day; I don’t know what I would do without it,” he said. “And it never breaks.”

For Tagliapietra, the biggest initial draw was the fact the booth’s intake and exhaust fans are directly driven off electric motors, with no belts involved.

“That is a huge advantage, for not having to do repairs,” Tagliapietra said. “Both pieces of equipment have their original 7.5-horsepower electric motors.”

Blowtherm Tags SIDE building2Tag’s Auto Inc. has upheld a lifelong reputation for superior collision repair workmanship and quality finishes since 1961.

Tag’s Auto keeps its Blowtherm equipment running smoothly by changing the floor filters every month and stack filters every two months, and cleaning the blower fans and housing once a year.

“This is an incredible system,” Tagliapietra said. “It works every time we turn the switch on.”

But in the nearly three decades the Blowtherm prep station and booth have been running flawlessly in his shop, Tagliapietra said, the quality of the finishes produced is the real standout feature.

“Everything is base and clear coat, and it puts out awesome finishes that match the OEM quality,” Tagliapietra said. “It takes a quality piece of equipment to do that. If you don’t match the look and depth, the repair is no good. If you can tell it’s been repaired, the repair is no good.

“Without a good downdraft spray booth, it’s impossible to match a factory finish,” he added.

Outside of regular maintenance, the only service Tag Auto’s Blowtherm Ultra 2000 booth required was in early 2023, when it needed a replacement control module. The service technician contacted Mark Miller, vice president of sales and marketing for Blowtherm USA, to get the part.

Tagliapietra was surprised to hear the name — in 1996, Miller was the sales representative who spoke to Tagliapietra at NACE and sold him the booth and prep station.

“I liked talking to Mark Miller [at NACE] because he was extremely informative,” Tagliapietra said. “I couldn’t believe he was still with the company [after all these years.]

“He knew I was 80 years old or better and couldn’t believe I was still doing business,” he added with a laugh.

The Blowtherm Ultra 2000 has been in use at Tag’s Auto for so long, it’s now branded as the Blowtherm World line of products. But the World boasts the same craftsmanship, performance and near-limitless lifetime of use as the equipment Tagliapietra bought all those years ago.

“It’s truly quality,” Tagliapietra said. “The old saying is ‘You get what you pay for,’ and this Blowtherm spray booth is absolutely, truly what that means.”

Blowtherm USA & Training Center
855-463-9872 or 262-269-6265

To read more auto body shop profiles in the June 2024 Shop and Product Showcase, click here.

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