A new service opened for business in Arnold at the end of October. Located in the former John Deere Implement building south of town, Midwest Kustoms will offer auto body and equipment restoration and repair.
Owners Robert Meredith and Travis Eastwood said they chose the building – and the town of Arnold – for a reason when they entered into their new business venture.
“We chose the building for its size. We don’t just want to specialize in cars and vehicles, we want to paint the big stuff,” said Robert. “Arnold seems like a pretty fast growing community, and to me, they kind of welcomed us with open arms as far as the business goes.”
Robert, 44, and Travis 43, are cousins and auto body work seems to run in their blood. Robert’s grandfather, Pete Schoene, owned a Pete’s Body Shop in Callaway for years, and their uncle, Gary Eastwood, owned a body shop in Callaway as well. Travis worked for Gary and has 20-plus years of experience behind him. Robert earned a degree in Auto Body Tech from Mid-Plains Community College before going into the oil field. He also helped his grandpa out in his younger days.
“We were always in Pete’s Body Shop when we were kids,” said Robert. Besides vehicles, the “big stuff” includes painting pretty much any heavy equipment – tractors, grain carts and combines. They will also offer auto detailing and a 24-hour locksmith service. To add to their business, the partners work for Titan Industries, restoring Bobcats for re-sale.
Robert said Arnold Economic Development Director Cheryl Carson has been a big help and still is. “We couldn’t have replaced her in this situation in getting the loans and everything. She is the best. She’s always right there if we call or need anything,” he said.
The partners spent a lot of time getting the building ready to open, hauling off three dumpsters of trash, cleaning extensively, fixing some water and electrical issues, and mowing and cleaning up the outside. They’re still fixing as they go and the improvements will continue. They have installed a big wood burning stove to help cut down on utilities and will be in the process of creating a showroom.
“Everybody is wishing us the best of luck and is nice and accepting. We’re about a month or a month and a half out right now, but we are taking on new projects,” said Robert. Robert and Travis are planning an open house on December 12 and will serve food for a free-will donation that will be donated back to the library.
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