Bruce Benner sells Wiscasset’s Pro Body Works to Todd Farrin

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 8:45am

A longtime Augusta collision center manager who summers on a boat in Boothbay Harbor has bought Pro Body Works in Wiscasset from the Westport Island man who had it its first 37 years. “He will do great,” Bruce Benner, 60, said of new owner Todd Farrin.

Farrin, 56, a lifelong Augusta resident, became manager last summer after the two friends talked about Farrin buying the business and agreed it would be good to have him work there first. “And it worked out great. It was a good fit for both of us,” Farrin said.

The sale was final Jan. 2, he said. In separate phone interviews Monday, neither man disclosed the price. Farrin said he bought the business and he and wife of 30 years Kathy, a reading intervention specialist at Maranacook Community Middle school in Readfield, expect to own the property in June.

The Farrins summer on their 36-foot express cruiser power boat High Maintenance, docked at Boothbay Harbor’s Tugboat Inn. “We are absolutely in love with the Midcoast,” he explained about why he looked toward Wiscasset in buying a business after a career in collision repair in his hometown. He worked in the service department at Blouin’s from 1986 until 1994, when he became the collision center manager. He said he kept the job when Darling's bought Blouin’s in 2007 and he stayed until last July.

At Pro Body Works, Farrin has gotten the sign lit again,  the office painted and made his assistant manager Rene Brochu manager. Brochu was assistant manager under Farrin at Blouin’s and Darling’s for 13 years and left to work with Farrin in Wiscasset, Farrin said. Some of their Darling’s customers have been bringing vehicles to Pro Body Works, he added.

What’s next for Benner? “You’ll just have to stay tuned for the next adventure,” the 1977 Lincoln Academy graduate said. It won’t be in auto body, he said. Benner owns Lily Brook Apartments in Damariscotta and six rental units at 41 Water St. in Wiscasset.

“A big thank you” to all his Pro Body Works customers and staff, Benner said. “It was a great run.” He and John Shorey started the business on Hodge Street in 1982, Benner bought out Shorey and moved it to Route 1 in 1986, and in 1995-1996 tore it down and “built (it) all new,” he said. He feels the business is in good hands with Farrin. “I feel very confident that they’re going to make it all work. And he’s a great guy.”

Bookkeeper Kelly Brewer praised Benner’s ownership and Farrin’s. “When I heard that Bruce was selling Pro Body Works I was actually excited for him. He has worked very hard the last 30-plus years creating a business that puts out high end quality work. Pro Body Works wouldn’t be as successful without Bruce’s hard work and dedication,” Brewer commented via email. “We have the top of the line body men and painters, another key part to our success. I’m excited for the future and to be part of the team with Todd as he has innovative and exciting things ahead.”

Farrin is eying adding a rustproofing business this year. Pro Body Works is a full-service, all-vehicle collision center, a certified Ford repair shop and an I-car gold class shop, which refers to the staff’s training, Farrin said. “In our industry, training is really a key thing.”

What’s Farrin’s favorite vehicle he has ever worked on? A 1972 zamboni that came in years ago in multiple piles. While getting it ready for a Hallowell arena,  he and others working on it gave it fun features including T-shirt-firing cannons. The ice-cleaning machine became known as the Icenator, he said. “We did a lot of funky projects, and that one was a blast.”