Curious minds want to know
By Cheryl Parker

Jesup Paint and Body Shop has a very visible, high traffic location on South Street/220th Street. So when a 60’ x 56’ pole building addition was erected adjacent to the existing shop, folks noticed. What is going on inside is less visible from the road, but changes are definitely happening.

Owner Darryle Else is opening a new auto repair shop as a separate entity from his body shop. It will contain five work bays with three hoists. The shop will offer a full line of mechanical services, from basic oil changes to drive-ability diagnostics, and everything in between and beyond. He will be able to service all makes and types of vehicles.
The path from idea to being open for business has taken awhile. Else hired an Amish work crew to erect the building in the spring of 2018, and from that point on he has done all of the work himself, with the assistance of friends who have volunteered to help. “I’m a guy that likes to do everything himself if I can,” explains Else.

As a child, Else completed first grade at Jesup before the family moved to Cedar Rapids. His dad was a machinist. While Else was a student at Washington High School, he learned that he, too, was skilled at and enjoyed working with his hands. The family moved back to Jesup for Else’s junior and senior year of high school. Else says industrial arts classes with teacher Rod Elson and auto mechanics classes with teacher Wesley “Bud” Epling “were phenomenal” and inspired him to pursue this line of work.

In 1981 Else opened the Jesup Body and Paint Shop where, in addition to paint and body work, he also did engine repair. Some time in the ‘80s he gave up the mechanical work. (Painting doesn’t work well in an area that also utilizes grease and oil, he explained.) About 30 years ago he considered moving his business to Waterloo, where a larger market would enable him to grow faster. But his appreciation for living and working in a small town prevailed, and he is glad he decided to stay in Jesup. “If you treat your customers fairly and treat them well, they will come back,” he says.

Over the thirty years he has been growing his business, Else has found the importance of respecting his customers, listening to them, and educating them about work on their vehicles. He is proud of his reputation as a “nit picker,” and credits that fussiness with word-of-mouth advertising. A few weeks ago he had a customer from Marshalltown seek him out for a high quality job. Else adds honesty and hard work are two qualities essential to any business.

His fussiness about the quality of his work extends to the quality of workmanship in the construction of the new addition. He explained the intricacies involved in laying the tubing containing his in-floor heating. He does everything he can up front to minimize problems later. If there is a problem, he knows how to troubleshoot since he is doing the whole interior virtually himself.

As he reflects upon how his business has changed over the last thirty years, he says “we are just getting started” as far as industry changes of the future. The use of aluminum is an example. While aluminum body components have been around for a while, government regulations are pushing for even more use. It won’t rust, but it does corrode, it can oxidize and pit out. What makes aluminum attractive, says Else, is “it absorbs energy better, so you and I don’t get hurt.”

Else is appreciative of his customers, especially their patience. Being a smaller shop, sometimes they may have to wait to get in. But they know when it is their turn in the shop, he will give them his very best.

Else hopes the new mechanics shop will be open by spring of 2019. Knowing his standards, it won’t open a day before it is ready.
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