One of Papillion’s oldest businesses just turned 50.
Thorpes Body Shop recently celebrated its golden anniversary. The shop first been opened June 1, 1972. It offers anything related to collision repair, owners Richard and Lynda Thorpe said.
Having grown up working for his uncle’s collision repair business as young as 14, Richard got to know the industry early on. After working for some dealerships, he opened a Thorpes at 307 S. Washington St. with no running water.
In September 1974, they built their present building, located at 546 N. Jackson St.
“It’s quite an honor to make it that long throughout all the changes over the years,” Lynda said.
Being one of the oldest businesses in Papillion means everything is quite different than when they started. The industry has changed quite a bit, Richard said, for the better. He’s seen countless improvements — from car products to paint durability.
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This family-owned business has serviced third and even fourth generations.
Seeing Papillion’s “unbelievable” growth has been nice to watch, Lynda said. It’s grown rapidly, with new schools being built to serve all the younger families coming to the area.
The two mostly lived in Papillion throughout their careers. They joined various community groups and organizations to get involved, including the Chamber of Commerce Papillion Volunteer Fire Department, Papillion City Council, Sarpy Planning Commission and Papillion La Vista Schools Foundation.
The pandemic didn’t go unnoticed. It’s more challenging to hire employees now, the Thorpes said, and they have a harder time getting necessary items because of supply chain issues. Their son Blake got them through the worst of it, they said.
Blake has run the business for the last four years. He stepped in to help handle COVID-related issues that arose.
It’s something his parents said he always talked about wanting to do as a young child, but they made him go to college first. He’s done great so far, they said, upholding their reputation.
“We’re really proud of the job he’s done,” Lynda said.
“You’ve got to do a good job and stand behind it, so that’s what we’ve done over the years, and Blake still maintains that,” Lynda said.
Though Richard and Lynda have moved to Arizona, they said they truly miss the people of Nebraska and all their customers.