Earlier this spring, Timothy ‘Pete’ Ascue celebrated the 50th anniversary of his auto paint and body business.
The milestone highlights an era in a life marked with the accomplishments of a man who started his working life behind a mule on his father’s farm.
Ascue’s auto body business is undeniably among the most successful black-owned businesses in the metropolitan Charleston, SC, area. Though he’s known most commonly for the auto paint and body business he started with his brother in 1968, Ascue is a forward-thinking entrepreneur whose diverse ventures place him among the most auspicious black businessmen in the community.
The paint and body shop he started with his brother Robert ‘Bunny’ Ascue has grown to include five components that make up Ascue’s Auto Collision Center in Mount Pleasant. Four of the shops are leased to various auto body service companies. Ascue still owns and operates Ascue’s Auto Paint and Body Shop at the location that alone employs 15 people.
Although he’s come to be recognized as a small businessman at the pinnacle of success, Ascue has never abandoned the grassroots beginnings that formed his life philosophy---pay your way through; business is about the customer, not the owner; and always strive to increase business through employee training.
Being able to adapt and diversify has also been a key factor to his success. The fields he once plowed with a mule on his father’s farm in the 10 Mile community of the East Cooper area are now the sites of residential housing developments he’s constructed.
Ascue’s business is continuously evolving. The longstanding auto body shop is one cog in the economic engine that in the past included nightclubs as well. He said the vision of his ultimate goal of being a successful businessman led him in and out of various ventures.
“I feel like I can go into any business and make it,” he said confidently.
Success and family have been his motivation. As a student at Laing School East of the Cooper River, the aspiring entrepreneur studied brick masonry and carpentry. He decided against pursuing those skills as careers because he felt inclement weather would limit how much he could work. And work has been at the root of his success.