GARRETT — A longtime Garrett business has new owners as of Sept. 1.
Trent Zolman and his wife, Tascha have taken over operations at Northside Body Shop on East Railroad Street, opened 34 years ago by Tom and Sue Blotkamp.
Trent Zolman’s stepfather, John Riccius, has worked at the body shop for nearly three decades. Zolman said he has a lot of history and many memories growing up around the shop.
Early this year, the couple learned from Riccius that Blotkamp was thinking about retiring but wanted to keep the shop open in town.
“Trent always wanted to own the shop,” said Tascha.
She looked back in their daughter’s baby book from two years ago where Trent mentioned he wanted to one day own a body shop, she recalled.
“Trent was so excited, this all came about since January or February, it was all he was talking about,” when they learned the shop was for sale, she said.
The couple tossed around the idea for a month or two before meeting up with Blotkamp and putting the plan into action, which took most of the summer to finish all the paperwork.
Both Trent and Tascha are Garrett natives, graduating together in the Class of 2005. He is a U.S. Army veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and worked as a conductor on the CSX Railroad. She is an executive director for Enlivant in Fort Wayne.
Trent has been working with Blotkamp during the transition to learn the business operation, including how to write estimates and to hone his skills in the day-to-day operation of the business.
“We are fortunate to be able to retain the entire team at Northside Body Shop and continue building on the legacy that the Blotkamps have established,” said Tascha, including Riccius, Earl Zimmerman and Carol Hathaway.
“Tom sticking around until Trent is comfortable. He is just a phone call away,” said Hathaway.
The Zolmans currently live in Fort Wayne and are the parents of two girls, Jayda, age 2 and Kendall, 10 months, with another child on the way in February. In the meantime, they are busy renovating Tascha’s childhood home south of Garrett with plans to return and raise their young family. They look forward to making memories in the home Tascha grew up in, and have their children go to the same school they attended.
The Zolmans are football fans and enjoy cheering on the Garrett Railroader. During high school, he was a member of the football team and she was cheerleader, but they didn’t start dating for a few years following graduation.
“We want to thank Tom and Sue for allowing us the opportunity and for assisting through the transition,” Trent said. They also thank everyone who extended their family a warm welcome back to the Garrett community.
Going forward, their goal is to build on the success created by Tom and Sue Blotkamp with the business and their reputation in the community.
Northside Body Shop is located at 111 E. Railroad St., just north of the CSX underpass. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.