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Bates Collision Center

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Photo by Brian Harrison

1) Bates installed neon lighting to give the facility the feel of a 1950s-style diner. The lighting was designed and installed by Coast Graphics and cost $2,000. The shop leaves the lights running around the clock. It costs $250 annually to operate.

2) The 30-foot-long wall mural was painted by a local artist. Bates collaborated with the artist on the design, which is meant to make customers feel like they’re sitting inside an old diner. The mural depicts 1950s carhops and movie theaters that were actually located in the community years ago. “It’s very entertaining for customers to come in and look at, and it means a lot to them,” Bates says. “They have a lot of fun reminiscing about the past.”

3) Bates bought a real Wurlitzer jukebox for $5,500. It operates just like the retro jukeboxes that played 45s, although this one plays CDs. Bates says the jukebox is stocked with 1950s and 1960s music. It doesn’t require any money for customers to play. “It’s great entertainment for customers, and a huge conversation piece,” Bates says. “People of all ages really enjoy playing with it while they’re sitting in the lobby.”

4) The car bar is the front end off a real 1956 Chevy. Bates purchased the totaled vehicle from a scrap yard. Her husband and shop staff refurbished it with all-new chrome, a new bumper, grille and lights, as well as brand-new bodywork and a paint job. They even installed real whitewall tires. The project cost about $5,000. Bates uses the car bar to serve drinks when she hosts special functions, such as open houses or chamber of commerce events. It’s used as a coffee and soda station during work hours.

5) The gas pump is a fiberglass replica of a 1950s pump. Bates bought it online for $2,000 from a company called Firebird Fiberglass.

6) The couch is the rear end from the same vehicle used for the car bar. Bates installed new bumper pieces, chrome, lights and upholstery. It’s the same style and color of the upholstery used in the original vehicle.

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