After 37 years in downtown Waxahachie, Ellis County Auto Repair is moving about six miles north.

Craig Anderson and his wife, Rhonda, owners of the time-honored Waxahachie collision repair company, are gearing up to move into their new 20,000 square foot, 20-bay auto body shop on North U.S. Highway 77. Included in the service area is a two-story tall bay that will be used for parts and equipment.

“We’re supposed to be out of our old location by April 20,” Anderson said. “Hopefully we can be set up out here within the next two to three weeks.”

He is elated at the additional space and convenience he will enjoy at his new location –not only him and his 12-man workforce, which includes his father-in-law, long-time local merchant, Gregg Odom, but the convenience of his customers.

“We will have a covered drive right in front of the shop making it easy for customers to drive right up and get the service they need,” he said. “We will have an all-concrete drive and parking area. There’ll be no gravel or dirt.”

Ellis County Auto Repair was started up in 1972 by his dad, Chuck Anderson. The first shop was located on Franklin Street in downtown Waxahachie and was very crowded.  But in 1986, they built a new shop at 302 E. Franklin that boasted of 10,000 square feet of service area. 

The elder Anderson moved his family to Waxahachie from Bonham, Texas, in the mid-1960s, working for a Buick dealership in Oak Cliff for about four years before hiring on with Charlie Johnson Ford Company in Waxahachie. He was employed there until he opened the auto repair shop on Franklin Street in 1972.

“Years before that, my dad had one of those frame machines mounted on a trailer and auto dealerships and body repair people would call him to come set up and work on automobile frames,” Craig said.

Being cognizant of the changing world brought on by the computer age, Anderson said he feels more than ever, the need to diversify his services. 

“I’ve been in this business all my life,” Anderson said. “And I realize that it’s come to the place to where we can’t just offer only auto body repair anymore. We’re branching out into other services such as front-end alignment, high-performance racing car services, and we’re even going to have a car rental service on site for the convenience of customers,” Anderson said, adding, “We are going to offer one-stop shopping.”

Anderson’s racing company, Circus Motor Sports, will offer services for customers into racing, including paint services for racing cars as well as services on high-performance engines. 

He believes the move north will be beneficial to his business and will afford more space to perform services.

“I was told a few years ago that over 30,000 vehicles pass by here every day,” he said. “If that’s true, then we ought to have a lot more exposure than we’ve had downtown.” 

He cited difficulties his business has experienced during the past few months with construction of the new courts and administration building, noting that the construction obstructed access to his business.

He mentioned another new dimension to his business – he’s going green.

“We’re going to start painting with water-base paints,” he said.

“It’s a completely new technology that’s suppose to cut down on emissions by over about 90 percent,” he said, saying that they would still use urethane clear-coat.

“We’re the only body repair shop in Ellis County with the new technology,” he said. “Some shops up in Dallas are using it.”

The new location of the Ellis County Auto Repair Inc. also offers 24 hour full-service towing. Call Anderson at 972-937-4336 or cell 214-707-4361. E-mail raclown@aol.com or visit the Web site at www.elliscountyautobody.com.

E-mail Paul at paul.gauntt@wninews.com