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Wiley's Body Shop marks 60 years of business in SK
Port Orchards Wileys Body Shop earlier this month marked its 60th year of doing business in Manchester with considerably more fanfare than the business normally commands.
More than 150 people showed up for an open house on Aug. 16 to help current owners John and Janet Latham commemorate the anniversary of a business George Wiley founded in 1943 and later passed on to his son Pudge.
The Lathams puchased the operation in 1995 and still do business with the same small-town outlook. Weve considered expanding and adding new locations, John Latham said. Weve also had a lot of offers to consolidate this business to larger companies, but weve never wanted to do that. We prefer to stay small so we can concentrate on keeping people happy.
Wileys Body Shop currently employs about 10 people, six of whom are Latham family members.
At least with family members, you generally know theyll stay with you for a while, said Janet Latham. Our biggest problem is always finding good people. So often the minute you get them trained they go someplace else.
Over the years, the Lathams say, the biggest change perhaps the only change in the way Wileys has done business is the advent of computers. Where the operation used to rely entirely on the human element, now the Lathams use computers for everything from estimating to mixing the paint.
Were as big and modern as we need to be, John Latham said, but we still want to maintain the same feel thats made this business successful over the years.