This year marks the 36th for one auto body business that strives to always put its customers’ safety first and quality a strong second.
After graduating from Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology and working at his father’s shop doing mechanical and body work, Eric Dash opened his own business in 1983 on Axemann Road. Today, that business, Black Walnut Body Works, Ltd., has 16 employees and two locations in operation: 1620 Zion Rd., its main location, and Water Street, Bellefonte, its secondary location for restorations and overflow collision and refinish work.
“My father taught me [that] any job [worth] doing was worth doing right and that everyone should be treated fairly, honestly and with respect,” Dash said. “Those are the founding principles of my business and will remain my mission.”
In addition to collision repair, general auto body repair and auto detailing services, Black Walnut offers onsite rental cars for customer convenience and continued education for all its technicians. State-of-the-art equipment is prevalent to better serve its customers’ vehicle needs.
Beyond the services it offers, the business always strives to put the community first.
Over the years, Black Walnut has contributed and sponsored a multitude of community events and organizations, including the annual Bellefonte Cruise, which benefits various Bellefonte organizations, and the Annual Connoisseur’s Dinner, which supports WPSU programming. Last year, it sponsored the Grange Fair in Centre Hall and celebrated Black Walnut Body Works Day, offering information on its services and giving out free goodies.
“We had a lot of fun sharing our business with fair-goers,” said treasurer/VP Jill Howard.
In addition, the business supports local school district sports programs and extracurricular activities, local fire and rescue companies, and many other local events and activities in the Centre County region. Black Walnut is also a member of the Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County and the Bellefonte Intervalley Area Chamber of Commerce.
Last year, in celebration of the business’s 35th anniversary, it started a new tradition of giving back to the community with a benevolence program. For that program, Black Walnut was able to repair a vehicle that it donated to a local community member in need. The shop plans on continuing this tradition for years to come, as its team members love being able to give back.