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J & J Auto in Weidman now offers full mechanical repairs

By RANDI SHAFFER/@RandiMShaffer
Posted: Saturday, 06/01/13 07:42 pm

Auto Body Specialist Mark Woods works on a 2004 Monte Carlo at J & J Auto in Weidman Wednesday. I just got started on it this morning.
I just have to do a little straightening on it and then replace the outer panel, said Woods.
(Sun photo by KEN KADWELL/@KenKadwell).




Josh Latham took it into his own hands to address the increasing need for car repairs in Weidman.

Latham, the owner and operator of J & J Auto, Inc., 5365 W. Weidman Road., recently renovated and expanded his business to offer more than just complete collision repair.

Im trying to make it like a one-stop shop, he said.

Latham will now offer everything mechanical, including alignments and brakes, for his customers,in addition to loaning cars to those who bring in their car for service.

The decision to expand was made due to a heavy need for mechanical service in the area, Latham said.

J & Js opened in 2004, when Latham went into business with a friend, who has since stepped down from the co-leadership.

This is the first major renovation since opening, he said.

We over double-sized the shop, he said.
Latham added 4,500 additional square feet to the shop.

The renovations were finished around the first of the year, and the new business has been up and running since.

Renovations started last July.

Latham started by figuring out what he wanted, and then had engineers start drafting concepts of the new workspace.

He applied for permits and then brought in excavation equipment.

The steel building was delivered in pieces and then erected.

Latham acquired his new equipment to fill the space rather quickly, and is pleased with the final result.

We needed more body shop space, and I got kind of tired of moving cars around a lot, Latham said.
I decided to do my own mechanical, and that way, (the car is) staying in house.

Previously, Latham had to sublet cars out to other auto shops for mechanical repair.

Two cars and two drivers would have to embark on the drive to drop the car off.

It got to be a real hassle, Latham said.
A lot of consideration went into the decision to expand J & Js offerings, Latham said.
It took me probably a year and a half to figure out whether I wanted to jump into it or not, he said. Make the big move.

Latham has hired a part-time helper and a fully licensed mechanic to help in the new space.

So far, Latham said reaction has been good and customers have had positive feedback.
More so now, he said, that summers driving season has started.

Latham said that existing customers that have used the collision repair service have started using J & Js for their mechanical needs now, and the mechanical services have gained Latham a new clientele as well.

A lot of the locals do appreciate it a lot because its close, he said. Theres not a whole lot of business going around in Weidman right now. Trying to keep it local.

Latham said he does not have any plans for future business endeavors, but plans on mastering his new model first.
Collision repair is still J & Js No. 1 priority since it has established itself as a specialist in that area, but Latham hopes to generate a following in mechanical repair as well.

Randi Shaffer is a reporter at the Morning Sun. She can be reached at 989-779-6059, rshaffer@michigannewspapers.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/randi.shaffer