Cooper’s Auto Body here is run by a Ben Davis Area 31 Career Center collision repair graduate who hires co-op students from the class he came from.
Dustin Cooper started working on cars with his father when he was 13.
“I never played sports, just did the car stuff,” he said. “I started detailing cars behind my home as a main occupation through high school. I went to Avon High School but for my junior and senior year I decided to go to Ben Davis for the collision repair program. Ric Burdine was my instructor at Area 31; he took me under his wing to teach me more things.”
Cooper graduated in 2006 and started working at a body shop in Clermont where he remained for four years, while having a side shop close to home. After things started to cut back at his day job, he decided to focus on his own business without any real plans.
“I hired one guy at the first location in Avon, then I hired another guy, and then I found this location two years ago on March 1, 2012,” Cooper said. “I knew the guy who was retiring, so I took it all over and now he’s my landlord. This has been a body shop since 1964 and it continues to be today.”
He said everyone puts in a lot of hours at the shop and they use high quality materials.
“We’re more of a ‘mom and pop’ shop but can do anything the other body shops do,” Cooper said. “We start from the bottom and work our way up. We first started doing old cars restoration, then a guy came in and said since we did a nice job on his old car, would we fix his everyday car. Collision repair started going from there. We do a lot of collision repair, insurance work and old car restoration. I enjoy doing it. There are different challenges every week.”