A business with roots in Batesburg-Leesville is “coming home” to open its second location in a prime spot near the center of town.
Gilbert Paint & Body, owned by Jimmy and Heather Black, is working to renovate a former used car lot at 210 West Church St. with plans to open a fully-operational shop later this spring. The temporary sign on the property went up a couple weeks ago.
“We feel like the timing is good for us and for the town, for the simple reason that the growth of the town and the growth of our business are coming together at the right time,” said Mr. Black.
Gilbert Paint & Body will continue to serve customers at its current location, 3970 Augusta Highway, along the main highway between the Shoppes At Gilbert and Lexington High School. The family-owned business has been operational since 1998 and began in the Leesville community before moving to its current location on the highly-traveled four-lane.
Their second shop across from Wendy’s in Batesburg-Leesville will “allow us to alleviate the backlog of work that we have now,” Mr. Black said.
“The loyalty of our customers to us and the word-of-mouth of new customers that come to us have increased our customer base to the point that we have no choice but to open a second location. Our customers have been that good to us,” said Mrs. Black.
Gilbert Paint & Body offers a full line of services including structural repairs to the framework of customers’ vehicles, exterior body repair and painting and detailing. The Batesburg-Leesville shop is being readied to provide all of those services to their customers here, who won’t have to travel to Gilbert when their cars need care.
“The process we have in place works very, very well for us,” Mr. Black said. “Every business is structured a little bit differently on how they do stuff. We’ve taken a little here, a little there, and we’ve come up with our own stuff on how to get a car in the shop and get it out. We’re going to mirror the exact process we have in Gilbert.”
In addition to adding additional shop space out back, Gilbert Paint & Body has spent weeks renovating the existing West Church Street building to make it a comfortable and inviting environment for their customers.
“We need to make sure the front looks nice when customers come in, make sure it’s warm and welcoming,” Mrs. Black said. “So we’ve been tearing up old tile and carpet and painting and adding on. We want everybody who walks in to be comfortable.”
Aesthetics and maintaining the pleasing customer environment are important parts of their business success, they said, because around 70 percent of Gilbert Paint & Body’s customers are women. “They don’t want to walk into a dirty, nasty-looking place. They want something presentable. They want to be comfortable,” Mr. Black said.