Jaime Rodriguez talks about running his business, JBS Collision Repair, Monday at his West Beach shop.
“He must have really wanted me to have it,” said Jaime Rodriguez, who now runs JBS Auto Body out of its new location at 317 East Beach St.
His brother Joe Jr. works full-time in the body shop, while several other relatives help occasionally.
Rodriguez’s career in the auto body business began when he was still in elementary school, when he would go after school to his father’s shop.
After he finished his homework, his father never allowed him to merely sit around.
“He said, ‘grab a piece of sandpaper and get to work,’” Rodriguez said.
That was his introduction to the auto body business, and as he got older he learned the other aspects of the profession.
Soon, he was ready to learn one of the more difficult parts of auto restoration, even if he was reluctant at first.
“I was 17 when I painted my first car,” he said.
That started when his father told him to grab a sprayer and get to work, a request he initially balked at.
After some cajoling, his first attempt predictably left streaks running down the sides of the vehicle, Rodriguez said.
“I said, ‘I don’t want to finish, because I keep messing up,’” he said.
His father’s response?
“He said, ‘you know what you’re going to do? You’re going to sand it down tomorrow and do it again,’” Rodriguez said.
This time, however, it was at his father’s side that he learned the finesse it takes to paint a car by hand.
That experience cemented his love for the profession, he said.
“After that, I wanted to be a painter,” he said.
Within a few years, Joe Rodriguez had taught both his sons, Jaime and Joe Rodriguez, Jr., everything there was to know about the business.
“He taught me and my brother everything he knew,” he said.
After his father’s death Jaime was left bewildered by having to take over managing the business, and he soon realized he had to move it from its original Grove Street location.
After two moves to Freedom and Pajaro, and working at two other auto body shops, Rodriguez discovered the West Beach Street site, which offers a shop, a painting area and a space for detailing work.
“What I like is getting a vehicle that needs work and giving it back to the customer in perfect condition,” Rodriguez said. “I want to give the best I can to my customers. That means a lot to me.”
JBS Auto Body is a full-service business that offers all manner of restoration work and collision repair, custom body work, paint and pin striping and offers a full detailing service.
It is located at 317 West Beach St. in Watsonville. For information, or to make an appointment, call 786-6912.
Thank you to Register-Pajaronian for permission to reprint this article.