Wiley's Body Shop marks 60 years of business in SK

Port Orchard’s Wiley’s 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. “We’ve considered expanding and adding new locations,” John Latham said. “We’ve also had a lot of offers to consolidate this business to larger companies, but we’ve never wanted to do that. We prefer to stay small so we can concentrate on keeping people happy.”

Wiley’s Body Shop currently employs about 10 people, six of whom are Latham family members.

“At least with family members, you generally know they’ll 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 Wiley’s 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.

“We’re as big and modern as we need to be,” John Latham said, “but we still want to maintain the same feel that’s made this business successful over the years.”

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates