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Brad Wheat, Owner of Craig's Body Shop | Jane Boursaw Photo

My husband Tim and I stopped by Craig’s Body Shop the other day, and owner Brad Wheat showed us a cool board with years of paint on it – 15 years worth of paint on each side, encompassing lots of hard work on hundreds of vehicles.

It took a wee bit of cajoling (we know that longtime OMPers don’t really *like being in the spotlight – totally get it), but we finally persuaded Brad to let me take his picture with the board, shown at the top of this story.

Here’s another picture of the work bench that’s been in the shop since Brad’s grandpa, Ralph Craig, established the business on the Old Mission Peninsula in 1946.

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Workbench, Circa 1946, at Craig’s Body Shop | Jane Boursaw Photo

Brad said the shop’s roots actually go back to 1918 in Indianapolis, Indiana. When Ralph Craig started the business on the OMP, it was originally located in a barn; when Brad’s dad, Tom Craig, took over the business in 1968, he built the new building in its current location.

Brad took over the shop in 1987. For anyone keeping track, that’s three generations over 72 years of business on the Old Mission Peninsula.

Here’s a page from the Traverse City Record-Eagle, dated Feb. 16, 1968, featuring ads with local businesses congratulating Tom on his new ownership of the business.

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Craig’s Body Shop; Traverse City Record-Eagle, Feb. 16, 1968

There’s a certain comfort in talking with someone else who grew up on the Old Mission Peninsula (Brad’s sister Janell was in my brother Ward’s class). Shared memories of a time when you knew everyone and the majority of the population were farmers. One of my goals with publishing Old Mission Gazette is to recapture some of that feeling, not just the memories and history, but also create a community hub for our current population.

And if you’re in need of car repairs, Craig’s Body Shop, located at 10965 Craig Road, is a great way to “shop local” and support a business right here on the Old Mission Peninsula. They’re certified to repair your vehicle’s front-end and steering, any unitized body structure damage, collision-related mechanical damage, and plastic repair and refinishing resulting from an accident.

For more info, visit their website, call Brad Wheat, (231) 947-8547, or email [email protected].

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