KEARNEY — Turner’s Body Shop — “Home of the $55 alignment” — is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
“My dad, Robert Turner, actually started the business in 1969,” said Barb Turner, a co-owner of the business at 1517 Central Ave., across the street from the Buffalo County Courthouse. The Turner’s building used to be an Orange Crush bottling plant with a gas station nearby. Barb Turner doesn’t know how old the body shop building is, but in addition to being a bottling plant, the building’s second floor was a dance hall.
Some of the trappings of the dance hall still are upstairs, she said.
The co-owners of Turner’s Body Shop are Bobby Turner and Barb’s son, Tony Turner.
Robert Turner, the founder, died in 2015, and was a regular at his business up until he came down with Alzheimer’s disease, Barb Turner said.
Tony Turner is in charge of Turner Body Shop of Holdrege. The Turner family bought a body shop in the Phelps County seat four years ago. The Holdrege shop now employs four, including Tony.
The mainstay of the business in Kearney has 15 employees.
The Kearney shop offers a broad range of services. Among them are body and fender repair, suspension and alignment, struts and tires, frame straightening and towing. Turner’s Body Shop of Kearney operates one wrecker and two rollbacks, and can loan cars to customers who will be without transportation until their repairs are finished, Barb Turner said.
“It’s hard to be without your vehicle,” she said.
Much has changed about body and fender repairs. Years ago, technicians used lead to fill dings and dents, but now other materials make repairs easier.
Barb Turner said that as automobiles become more complex, it’s more complicated to repair them. Sometimes, as body technicians peel away damaged areas, they can uncover additional damage, or what are called “supplements” in car insurance.
“I remember when my dad wrote estimates. He did it without supplements,” Barb Turner said.
She said much has changed about the business, but operating tow trucks remains a very dangerous part of the business. “We’ve lost a couple of tow truck drivers on the interstate when people hit them.”
Turner’s Body Shop will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a customer appreciation day on July 30, the birthday of founder Robert Turner.
They’re putting together a photo display from the early days and will have a photo tribute for the employees who have passed away. The event will be 3-6 p.m. with hot dogs, chips, cake, popcorn and door prizes.