Black Walnut Body Works marks 36 years in Bellefonte

PHOTO PROVIDED From left are estimator Don Moore, treasurer/VP Jill Howard and president Eric Dash.

BELLEFONTE – This year marks the 36th year for one auto body business that strives to always put its customer’s safety first and quality a strong second!

After graduating from Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology and working at his father’s shop doing mechanical and body work, Eric Dash opened his own business in 1983 on Axemann Road. Today, that business, Black Walnut Body Works, Ltd., has 16 employees and two locations in operation: 1620 Zion Road their main location and Water Street, Bellefonte secondary for restorations and overflow collision and refinish work.

“My father taught me any job doing was worth doing right and that everyone should be treated fairly, honestly and with respect” Dash said. Those are the founding principles of my business and will remain my mission.

In addition to collision repair, general auto body repair and auto detailing services, Black Walnut offers on-site rental cars for customer convenience and continued education for all their technicians. State of the art equipment is prevalent to better serve their customers’ vehicle needs.

Beyond the services it offers, the business always strives to put the community first.

Over the years, Black Walnut has contributed and sponsored a multitude of community events and organizations, including the annual Bellefonte Cruise, which benefits various Bellefonte organizations and The Annual Connoisseur’s Dinner, which supports WPSU programming. Last year they sponsored The Grange Fair in Centre Hall and celebrated Black Walnut Body Works day, offering information on their services and giving out free goodies. We had a lot of fun sharing our business with fair goers, Howard said.

In addition, the business supports local school district sports programs and extracurricular activities, local fire and rescue companies, and many other local events and activities in the Centre County region. Black Walnut is also a member of the Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County and the Bellefonte Intervalley Area Chamber of Commerce.

Last year, in celebration of the business’ 35th anniversary they started a new tradition of giving back to the community with a benevolence program. For that program, Black Walnut was able to repair a vehicle that they were able to donate to a local community member in need. They plan on continuing this tradition for years to come as they love being able to give back!

Another way the business gives back to its customers is through its Hit a Deer? Win a Deere program, which is in its fourth year. For the program, any customer who has had an accident involving a deer and has had their car repaired at Black Walnut is entered into a raffle to win a new John Deere riding mower. The drawing is open each year from October through April, and the winner is chosen on April 15.

“We are ambitious and growing to better serve our community”, Dash said. We are continually working on keeping up with new technologies this industry requires. We are becoming certified with several automobile manufacturers and we’ve rolled out a new logo and will be launching our new website this Spring! We are very excited about all the changes we’ve been making and will continue to make changes to give our customers a positive experience, even though accidents often are not.

There is a lot to be proud of while providing quality service to customers at such an auto body shop as Black Walnut. According to Dash, about 60 percent of the business’ customer base comes from repeat customers and their referrals. The business especially prides itself on the ability to work with any insurance company and ensure that customers receive pre-accident condition quality repairs.

And what have been the most memorable and favorite parts of working at Black Walnut?

Making our customers happy after they have had an unpleasant accident or experience with their vehicle at another facility. We have gained a lot of friends over the years through building those relationships with our customers, Dash said.

Howard said, we are not just a business, we are an extended family with not only our team members but with our entire community. We love meeting new people every day, helping take care of their auto repair and rental car needs and we love delivering a quality product to them. Our customers’ satisfaction is most important to us and we will continue to be an advocate for them to ensure their family’s safety and that they receive that pre-accident quality repair!

From our family to yours, we would like to thank everyone who has contributed to our 36 years of success and hope to provide our services for many more years to come, Dash said.

Black Walnut Body Works, Ltd., is open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. More information can be found online at www.blackwalnutbodyworks.com or by calling 814-355-3000.

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