Today, Manuel’s Auto Body Inc. continues their long tradition of putting customers first.
It’s been 79 years since Manuel Oroz Sr. set up shop and opened Manuel’s Auto Body Inc. in October of 1938 on the corner of east 19th street and Sonora. Manuel focused on the auto body repairs and painting and later, his wife Antonia, worked on upholstery in the same facility. After several years, Antonia no longer worked in the business and turned over the upholstery to her employees.
After 40 years of doing business at their first location on Sonora and East 19th, they had the opportunity to expand and the shop relocated in the mid-1970s to a half acre lot on East 19th St. At that time their son Manuel Jr. had been working at a dealership down in Lompoc, but before the move he came back to Bakersfield with wife Rachel to join in the family business. Manuel Jr. and Rachel ran the business together up until her death in 2015. Today, with the third generation working alongside Manuel Jr. in the long-standing business, it’s clear that Manuel’s Auto Body Inc. is a true family affair.
Manuel’s continues to be a major player in the auto body repair and paint industry. Change has been the name of the game, and Manuel’s has been able to effortlessly adapt with the times. Now virtually a one stop shop, they handle “Auto body repair, refinishing, we pick our customers up, we drop our customers off. Anything having to do with the cosmetic aspect of a vehicle after a collision,” revealed Office Manager Lisa Clark, granddaughter of Manuel Sr. Her brother Greg Oroz is also in the business, acting as the production manager.
Working with all major car insurance companies, Manuel’s Auto Body Inc. also handles non-insurance repairs and even does special restoration projects—something they started doing about 20 years ago. Lisa detailed, “We don’t do very many of them anymore because they are just so labor intensive—but we accomplish at least a few of them a year.” Part of the reason for this is that when they do restorations or any repair for that matter, they strive to make the cars absolutely perfect for clients. She attested, “We try to keep everyone happy, because customer service is one of the most important aspects of this business. When they come to us they’ve already had a bad experience, they’ve already had an accident or something go wrong, so we do everything that we can to make it as smooth as possible.”
Continuing this thread of customer service is their remarkable empathy they have for clients. “When someone calls us to say that they’ve been in an accident, the first thing we want to know is if they are OK, because that’s what is important,” Lisa explained. This compassion is part of what keeps families coming back again and again.
She emphasized that the Bakersfield community has played a big part in the business’ substantial accomplishments. “I want to thank everyone in the community for supporting us all these years. We’ve worked with families for generations now. We’ve had the grandparents and now we have their grandchildren coming in and they’ll come and say ‘hey, Manuel painted my car back in ‘78, or back in ‘80, and it still looks great,’ so we just want to thank them for their continued support,” she concluded.
With almost 80 years behind them, it’s clear that Manuel’s Auto Body is continuing on the family tradition of quality care, honesty, and integrity from generation to generation.
131 E 19th Street, Bakersfield CA | 661-327-4941