Carrying on the family name

New generation takes over at Timm’s Auto Body

-Submitted photo
The second and third generations are the new owners at Timm’s Auto Body in Webster City. From left are Kyle Timm and daughter Makenah Timm, who purchased the business from Kyle’s parents, Bev and Rick Timm.

WEBSTER CITY — The latest transition at Timm’s Auto Body in Webster City has been more than 30 years in the making. Passing down a family business takes time.

Rick and Bev Timm opened the business on Webster City’s east side in 1992, hoping for the best, but likely never imagining that the second and third generations of the family would one day make it their own.

The couple’s son, Kyle Timm, and his daughter Makenah Timm, recently purchased the family-owned business and are working hard to honor what they started. Kyle Timm runs the body shop while Makenah Timm does the books, greets customers, and keeps everyone on track.

“I’m very proud of them,” Rick Timm said. “Bev and I wish them well, and we know they will always treat people good.”

Kyle Timm said he learned the business from the ground up, working with his parents over the years and watching their commitment to customer service.

“I learned everything from my dad,” he said. “I was probably 16 when I started helping my dad here. Really, I’ve learned something from everybody that’s worked here.”

A 1993 graduate of Northeast Hamilton High School, Kyle Timm pretty much always knew that he wanted to work with cars. He enrolled in the General Motors body school program at Des Moines Area Community College and graduated there in 1995. He has been a part of the family business since almost the beginning, so carrying it on when his parents decided it was time to retire is only a natural fit.

“My dad still comes down here just about every day,” he said. “He likes to dabble, and lends a hand, and lots of folks come in to talk with him.”

With a full-service auto body shop, he said his focus is on maintaining a dedication to excellence. While the business also sells used cars, that is more of a secondary line.

“Our focus is on the body shop and making sure the craft work that we offer is the best that it can be,” he said.

Doing collision work can mean that they meet folks at a trying time. But the Timms strive to reassure clients that quality craftsmanship can make all the difference in the final job.

While auto body work is the focus, Timm’s also provides oil changes, brake work, and detailing. Prior to COVID, pre-owned auto sales were a larger priority.

In those years, Bev Timm was spending a few days every week at car auctions, bringing home some choices for local buyers. Makenah Timm used to go along on some of those trips with her grandmother.

“She took me a few times and pretty much showed me the ropes,” Makenah Timm said.

Bev Timm also taught her granddaughter a few things about working with the public.

“Grandma taught me how to be patient,” Makenah Timm said. “She’s always kind and she can relate to anybody.”

While Bev Timm really helped grow the pre-owned auto side of the business, no one could stop the pandemic. Throughout the nation, pre-owned auto sales was an industry heavily impacted by the pandemic.

“COVID affected the car sales business a lot,” Timm said. “People with really deep pockets were snapping all of them up and drove prices way up. We were fortunate that we closed out at the right moment and didn’t get upside down like a lot of small dealers.”

Timm’s still offers a limited number of pre-owned vehicles for sale. They buy cars they know have value, if someone has the skill to make it an attractive choice for prospective buyers.

“We’re opportunistic buyers,” Timm said. “If someone has a problem with their car and they don’t want to fix it, then it might be a good opportunity.”

He does see progress and a more hopeful future coming back for small dealers in pre-owned auto sales, so it’s possible that end of the business may grow again in the future.

For now, the father and daughter duo of Kyle and Makenah Timm are happy to continue a strong focus on quality body work and building on the family’s more than 30 years in Webster City.

“My parents were proud to serve everyone in our community and we’re thankful for the public’s support over the years,” Kyle Timm said. “Makenah and I just want to continue that emphasis and build on that strong tradition.”


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