MAPLE PARK – When Ray Lynch started County Line Customs & Collision in 2011, he never thought the business would become what it is today.
“At the time, I had a hard time finding a job, so I decided to create my own,” Lynch said. “What I thought would be a part-time job has turned into my lifelong career.”
After five years of doing custom collision and paint jobs on motorcycles and cars, Lynch saw an additional need in the community and decided to expand his business.
As an extension of County Line Customs & Collision, County Line Industrial Sandblasting and Coating opened April 1 on Summer Lane, two blocks away from the parent building. The business extension will specialize in anything that can fit through a 14-foot door: farm equipment, trailers, semis, heavy equipment, garbage trucks, etc. If it fits, it can get a face-lift at County Line Industrial Sandblasting and Coating.
Its first big job was with DC Trash, working on its garbage trucks and semis. Lynch hopes word spreads to other construction companies with large equipment in need of sandblasting or paint work.
“We can now service two wheels to 18-wheel vehicles,” Lynch said. “We work with each customer individually to make sure they’re happy with the work. That is our top priority.”
Lynch started his restoration career in 1989 as a custom body painter at Gerald Oldsmobile in Naperville. From there, he went to work for several other custom body shops, which gave him the skills to train his own staff.
Lynch also partners with Kishwaukee College in Malta and offers internships to students taking auto body classes. Two students have been through the program this year.
“My goal is to keep the youth interested in the trade,” Lynch said. “It’s hard work, but to see the results of your work is very gratifying. That’s what I hope to teach these kids.”
Lynch said he goes out of his way to get the best parts for the job, even if it means he doesn’t make as much money on the job as he’d like to see.
“Referrals come from word of mouth,” Lynch said. “If the customers are happy, then they’re going to refer their family and friends to us, and we get more work. If it means I make a few bucks less to give them a part that’s going to last longer, then so be it.”
That system is working for Lynch, He’s seen customers come from as far as the North Shore of Chicago, Sycamore, DeKalb, Sandwich, Naperville and Hinckley.
“It’s crazy to think I’ve come this far in five years,” Lynch said. “Thanks to my family and friends who helped me get started and the community for keeping us going.”