This body shop owner is officially not retired

I first heard of Lee Amaradio in 2007. He owned a large body shop in Southern California and wanted to say some things about the auto body repair industry. He asked me if he could write articles for me, and I said sure. And so began a successful business and personal relationship with Lee.

Lee told me that the next time I was traveling on business to Southern California he had to let him know and that he would teach me how to surf, so I accepted the offer. An avid surfer who has surfed waves all over the world, he first took me stand-up paddleboarding in a lagoon and then we tried to surf in the Pacific. I remember being in waist-deep water and Lee told me that a great white shark killed a swimmer within 100 yards of where we were. Good time.

Lee eventually retired in 2010. He has spent the last decade in Kauai, Hawaii, but has now returned to the industry to run his store again. He emailed me late last year and told me he wanted to write again and talk about the changes he’s seen in the crash industry. In some ways, he said, the industry has progressed, but in others it has remained in the Stone Age.

I couldn’t pass up the offer. Lee’s articles have always been well received by our readers. With headlines like “Busy But Broke,” “From Red to Black” and “Take Back Your Customers,” Lee reached out to the average store owner by sharing his frustrations and coming up with solutions based on his own personal experience.

Discover Lee’s story in this month’s issue. Lee successfully managed his store thanks to COVID-19 and now clearly sees the path stores must take to remain independent in a consolidating market. He still has a lot to say and we’re happy he’s back.

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