ROXBURY, NJ – He didn’t go to art school and the pieces leaving his shop in Ledgewood are not displayed at The Met. Nevertheless, Ed Korpos doesn’t hesitate a second when asked if he considers himself and his employees artists.
“Absolutely,” said Korpos, the owner of Ken’s Auto Body on Route 46, an advertiser on TAP into Roxbury. “It takes a certain type of person to do this the right way.”
Topping the list of qualities found in a good auto body artist is an obsessive attention to detail, said Korpos. He said his staffers do not cut corners. Their goal is to restore damaged vehicles to showroom condition and Ken’s backs up that standard of work by giving all customers lifetime guarantees.
“We guarantee the work we do for the life you own your vehicle,” said Korpos. “If there’s a defect in anything we’ve done, we will take care of it and if it’s a manufacturer issue, we will go to the manufacturer to take care of it as well.”
Toward that end, Korpos is continually upgrading his shop’s equipment. The most recent addition is a $25,000 resistance welder. “It does spot welds where it pinches the panels together and welds them so it looks just like the factory did it,” he said. He’s also proud of the company’s state-of-the-art downdraft spray booth and bake oven which allow the shop to do “factory-type finishes” with paint undistinguishable from cars never involved in accidents.
Korpos, 48, was born and raised in Roxbury. He’s been an auto body enthusiast since he got a job – at Ken’s Auto Body – as an 18-year-old. “It pretty much started as a hobby thing,” said Korpos. “They had me sweeping floors and prepping cars.” He learned a lot at the job but also got trained at Morris County School of Technology.
Ken’s Auto Body was in a different, but nearby, place back then. The company was founded in 1965 by Ken Symonds and owned by Randy Farley when Korpos got his first job there. Korpos and his partner Ron Lipps bought the business in 2003 and moved it to its current site in 2011.
He said his customers appreciate the personal touch they get. “We’re not a real big shop,” Korpos noted. “I like smaller shops. The guys I have here take more pride in their work and I think they enjoy what they do. They’re not just banging them out, banging them out. They’re working on the same car from beginning to end. In a big, assembly line place, you don’t get that pride.”
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