Keith Bradt and Bill Burke stand outside the recently improved Chatfield Body Shop.  GRETCHEN MESNINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Keith Bradt and Bill Burke stand outside the recently improved Chatfield Body Shop. GRETCHEN MESNINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Keith Bradt and Bill Burke got a new body to match downtown.

It's clad in steel and has a brick face.

"We kept the brick front so it would match the rest of downtown - that's why we left some brick, instead of going with all steel," explained Bradt.

He said the exterior of Chatfield Body Shop still has a partial brick façade instead of the building being completely covered in steel siding. The business owners invested in improvements for the shop in late August.

Burke recalled the building being a Chevrolet dealership at one time and Bradt related, "The building has been here for a long time - my dad bought it from Hammell Equipment and turned it into a body shop in 1978, and Bill and I took over...bought it in 1995. I started working here in 1989."

Bradt stated he'd "always thought of building a new shop," but the cost was prohibitive, so the existing shop recently got the facelift it needed in order to keep it looking as sharp as the vehicles he and Burke send out their garage doors each week.

"We got to talking about it last fall and this spring and we put the numbers together and decided it was doable, so we did it," Bradt said. "We put in new windows, new doors, insulation, new steel siding, and we're going to start on the inside in the next week or so."

He added, "It's nice to have the outside done, and inside will be a work in progress for a while because we'll continue to work on remodeling."

"Remodeling" the body shop also entails changing the kinds of paints used to a water-based paint "that's more environmentally friendly" and adding equipment for light mechanical services, such as tire sales and installation, brake adjustments and oil changes.

"We're going to be getting new equipment - a hoist, a tire changer, a balancer and other odds and ends to do light mechanical work. We've also hired John Stevens of Stevens Ford to do the work for our customers, and we'll do pick-up and delivery within reason to make it convenient for them," Bradt said. "I think that adding the light mechanical work will be advantageous for us. I'm hoping that down the road, we can hire another mechanic, and we're getting a new sign outside."

For now, Bradt and Burke are enjoying the compliments they get on the building's smart new look and anticipating the day when they can give their customers' cars not only a new body, but new shoes and treads.

Chatfield Body Shop is located at 104 Main St. S., Chatfield. For more information or to schedule a service, one may call (507) 867-3063.