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Centerline CARSTAR Collision Center, Strongsville, Ohio
So what’s the story with that giant pike on your office wall?
My son caught it on one of our fishing trips when he was 7 years old. Fishing is my favorite hobby I wish I had more time to do it!
Where do you usually go fishing?
Northern Quebec, but last year we were able to go all the way to Manitoba. There are no phones, and you’re hours away from cell phone service. They fly you in and drop you off from a float plane. I still go with my son and sometimes we take my old vocational school teacher from high school, who is like a second dad to me. He’s an outdoor kind of guy and likes to fish and hunt. He’s in his 70s now, and I just like giving back to him.
What makes your relationship special with him?
I don’t know, we just bonded really well my junior and senior year of high school. They no longer have an auto body program anymore, which makes me sad, but when I was in it, I had such an interest in it that he took me under his wing and spent a lot of time with me. While the other kids were running around being kids, I was focused and wanted to do the work and learn. I think he saw that in me.
Whose ’62 Pontiac is that out front?
Mine! I just bought it. We’re going to touch it up; it doesn’t need a lot. It will be my cruise car. I had been looking for one, and I had always had one. I sold the last one 10 years ago, so I’ve been on the hunt.
Your son, Paul Jr., runs the shop with you. Is he going to own it one day?
I’m hoping to one day be able to pass the business on to my kids. I never promoted it to them or said, ‘Some day, this will be yours.’ I totally let them choose what they wanted to do. I told them they didn’t have to do this. I said, ‘This was my dream; you can have your own. You can be involved as much as you want or as little as you want.’ Paul Jr. likes the business and is involved, so hopefully I’ll be able to have a retirement some day.
Does your daughter want anything to do with the business?
No. The only thing she does is come in part-time to do the bookkeeping. She’s into horses!
Has her love of horses rubbed off on you?
No, but I’ve done everything I can to support her passion. She first got involved with horses as a Girl Scout at a campout where they had horseback riding. Then, we bought her lessons, and by the time she was 13, we leased a horse after seeing an ad in the paper. Then we ended up buying one, and there have been many since then. Today, she has two and some day will have her own farm to keep them on.
Speaking of pets, what about the dog in your reception area?
That’s Bruiser, Paul Jr.’s dog. I was never for having a dog in the shop, but his house was undergoing some remodeling and he didn’t want him to get hurt, so he brought him into the shop. Now, he’s our new mascot! He hangs out mostly in the parts office and every now and again will peek his head out.