Jake’s Body Shop
What goes around, comes around,” the saying goes.
And, for Greg “Jake” Jacobs, of Blue Earth, that is exactly what has happened recently.
On Monday, Nov. 14, Jacobs opened Jake’s Body Shop in the former Milt’s Auto Sales and Service facility located on Highway 169 in Blue Earth.
Back in 1984, Jacobs did the same thing, opening up his own body shop in Elmore.
“After I graduated from Elmore High School in 1981, I went to what was then Mankato Vocational College for two years, to learn auto body work,” Jacobs recalls. “Then I worked for Hi-Way Ford in Blue Earth for a short time.”
It was in the spring of 1984 that he went to work for the body shop in Elmore. Just a few months later, in October of the same year, he bought the shop, with a little help from his father.
“I stayed there, running my own shop, for 24 years,” Jacobs says. “After that I came to Blue Earth and worked for Lee (Jahnke) at his body shop for six years, then for Terry Hanson for three years after Terry bought Lee’s shop.”
Now, the idea of owning his own shop has come around once again for Jacobs. Only this time, he is in Blue Earth.
“I got a call from (real estate agent and former banker) Lonnie Trasamar, telling me Milt’s was for sale, and would I be interested in looking at it,” Jacobs explains. “I was interested.”
But, it took a bit of work to get the deal done. Former owner Milt King had passed away earlier this year and his wife, Shirley, and son, Bucky, were running the business.
“The Kings were great to work with,” Jacobs says. “They even let me get into the building early, to get things going even before we had officially signed all the sales documents.”
And, Jacobs credits the Blue Earth Economic Development Authority (EDA) and their agent, Tim Clawson, of the Faribault County Development Corporation, (FCDC) for making the whole deal go through.
“I really appreciate all the hard work Tim did on this,” Jacobs says. “Without him and the EDA and FCDC, I am not sure this would have happened.”
There was a huge amount of paperwork involved with securing a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan, says Jacobs’ wife and partner, Becky Jacobs.
“And Tim (Clawson) made it all go very smooth; he knew what was entailed,” she says. “I think he had to do seven or eight drafts of the application.”
Jacobs adds having the EDA and the FCDC is “a huge asset to this community.”
Jacobs says real estate agent Trasamar was also very helpful, especially with having a banking background, and did a lot of work on the purchase. And, Becky Jacobs adds First Bank Blue Earth was also instrumental in making the deal happen.
“All of these people are all very interested in having business growth here,” Jacobs says. “And they work hard to make it happen.”
Now it is time for Jacobs to roll up his sleeves and get to work, too. But, he is not doing it all alone.
The new business has two employees: Mark Baldwin, who has 35 years experience in auto mechanic work and is now going to help with the body work and Sue Dixson, who manages the front office/bookkeeper position.
“We are going to focus solely on being an auto body shop,” Jacobs says. “We will do collision repair and glass replacement.”
A temporary banner sign in front of the building proclaims it to now be the home of Jake’s Body Shop. A new, larger sign has been ordered and should be here in three to four weeks, Jacobs says.
Greg and Becky Jacobs have lived in Blue Earth since 2006, when they moved here from Elmore. Becky Jacobs works at Seneca Foods as an administrative assistant, and formerly worked at the United Hospital District Clinic.
The couple has four children: Logan, who is a senior at Minnesota State University, Mankato; Kellen, who plans on joining the U.S. Marines on Dec. 8; and twin daughters Lindsey and Kaylor, who are seniors at Blue Earth Area High School.
“Pretty soon we won’t have any kids at home anymore, and we won’t have any more kid’s sports activities to go to,” Becky Jacobs says. “I think Greg plans on spending a lot more time at the shop then.”
And, if business is good, he probably will have to, she adds with a smile.