A native of East Ridge, Dusty Fine grew up learning the ins and outs of the shop he now owns.
He is the third generation in the Fine family to run Johnny Fine & Son's Body Shop, at 5630 Ringgold Road in East Ridge.
"I've got customers that have known my family longer than I've been alive," said Fine.
After leaving East Ridge Junior High for the day, at age 12 he would arrive at the shop to help clean the floors and the tools. As he continued to grow up, he kept stopping by after school as a student at East Ridge High School. At age 16 he began helping with oil changes and brake jobs. Soon he found himself more interested in body work. When he was 17 the shop needed a painter, so he volunteered to move from the mechanic shop to the paint shop.
Now the shop focuses solely on body work.
"We are the only body shop in East Ridge that I am aware of," said Fine.
He said the shop went green in 2008 to become more environmentally friendly. Since that time Fine said his body shop has been tracking its emissions of volatile organic compounds, exposure to which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. High concentrations of VOCs can remain in the air long after the activity that released them is completed.
Before switching to a waterborne base coat paint that evaporates into the air, Fine said the shop emitted 200 pounds of VOCs per month. Since going green, the shop produces 85 pounds monthly of VOCs, he said. As of right now, the shop has saved 5,000 pounds of VOCs from entering the air since the conversion, according to Fine.
He said the air pollution board told him the shop is now at a non-pollutant stage due to the sizeable reduction in VOCs.
"On average we work on 70 vehicles per month," said Fine. "We worked on cars that were in pieces one year ago after the April 27 storm. In May and June of 2011 we worked seven days a week repairing vehicles from tornado damage. This past March, we worked six days a week to repair hail and tornado damaged cars."
He said the shop employs a painter, a helper, four metal technicians, a reassembler, a deassembler and two detail workers.