K&K Auto Body repair shop takes flightWritten by Betsy Woodruff | | email@example.com
K&K Auto Body distinguishes itself from other car repair shops in an unusual way: A huge cockatoo watches over the store.
The bird, Boobaloo, sits on a large circular perch in the front of the shop. His wings are unclipped, and sometimes he flies home if he gets scared.Mark Diebert, who owns the shop and the bird, lives a few doors down.
“Everybody else has a shop dog,” said Chris Guhl, the manager. “We have a shop bird.”
Diebert said the bird, Boobaloo (Booby for short), originally belonged to a friend. When she got married, Boobaloo grew jealous of her husband and became aggressive.
At first Diebert did not want to take the bird in. But as he got to know Booby, he grew attached to him. When his owner decided to give him away, Diebert took him in. That was two and a half years ago.
Now, the pale pink cockatoo is a fixture at the shop.
“He just hangs out,” Diebert said. “He loves people and being around people and excitement. He loves the shop.”
Booby does not talk very much, but bobs his head and whistles. The first time Guhl heard the bird speak was when it yelled an obscenity after being told to shut up.
“He likes women,” Guhl said. “He doesn’t bite too many women. He’s a good guy.”
The shop specializes in custom painting and airbrushing, Guhl said. Rob Barrera, who works at the shop, is one of the best airbrush artists in the five-state area, according to Guhl, who said Barrera has decorated tour buses for Pixar and Disney.
He has travelled as far as Florida to do custom airbrush work.
“He could be a millionaire with the work he does,” Guhl said. “It’s outrageous.”
Many Harley-Davidson owners come in to have their bikes painted.
“Sometimes in July, you get flooded with them,” Guhl said.
Flames are the most popular designs to have airbrushed.
The store also installs scratch-resistant LED screens on the tailgates of pickup trucks. Owners can put whatever text they want on the screens, or rent them out to advertisers. The screens run on their own battery and can still display words when the trucks to which they are attached are turned off. Guhl said he thinks K&K is the first in the tri-state area to install these screens.
The shop also repairs damaged cars, designs and applies vinyl graphics, and does a lot of welding.
K&K shop was not seriously hurt by the recession.
“We were slammed when other body shops were dead,” Guhl said.
The shop is located at 1450 South Ave. Its phone number is (419) 382-0361.
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