Local auto shop legacy continues - Zach Smith takes the helm at StraightLines Custom Restorations
Earlier this summer, Zach Smith and his wife, Elizabeth, took ownership of StraightLines Custom Restorations, Inc.
Located at 300 N. Linda Ave. in Tea, Smith started working at StraightLines for then owner Marty Anfinson when he was still in high school. As a senior at Tea Area, Smith started working there through a school to work program.
When he graduated from high school, he started some further schooling and originally wanted to build homes and own his own construction business. He decided that wasn’t for him and went to work at StraightLines full time.
When he started there, he was sandblasting, tearing cars apart, doing some metal fabrication and some body work and then some painting. About 5-10 years ago, he started ordering parts and making sure everyone had enough to work on and had the parts they needed, while also working with customers more.
Today, he orders the parts and works with customers while also overseeing everything. He helps on the assembly side as much as he can.
He orders from multiple suppliers from around the world. He noted the last few years have been harder to get them in a timely manner and not be backordered.
“We have anywhere from 5-15 people walking through a day, so dealing with them, talking to them, trying to figure out what they want to do,” Smith said.
Most of their customers come from within a hundred miles of Tea. They have worked on cars from one person who moved to Hawaii, another from California and one from Washington, but most customers are from the area.
They work on a lot of classic, muscle cars from things as simple as oil changes to a full restoration.
“(We) do as little or as much as a customer wants,” Smith said.
Smith and Anfinson had talked about Smith taking over ownership for the past few years.
They started transitioning about a year and a half ago when Smith started doing more of the book work to prep him for taking over.
“The only changes we really did was update our logo and that was kind of it. Everything’s the same with the customers. It was a turnkey type deal. It wasn’t a big surprise to anyone,” Smith said.
Smith and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Harrisburg with their two children, Jackson and Connor. Elizabeth works as a nurse at Avera in addition to doing all the bookkeeping, payroll and taxes for StraightLines.
Besides the Smiths, 11 other employees work at StraightLines. Smith would entertain having a high school student come in and learn about the business like he did.
“I think it was a great program. You figure out if you like it or don’t like it before you go to college and waste money,” he said.