Local body shop owner looks toward retirement

After more than 35 years in car-body work, Gordon Koehn, owner of Hillsboro Body Shop, plans to retire April 1.

Koehn has been working at the Body Shop since 1964. He worked as an employee for five years. When the owner wanted to get out of the business, Koehn began leasing it from him, then later purchased it.

?It was a chance to get into business and be self-employed,? Koehn said.

For the first 10 years, Koehn worked by himself. In 1981, he hired his son-in-law, Reginald Hiebert, to help him with the business. Koehn now has two employees.

He said there are advantages to owning your own business.

?It has made it more flexible for me to come and go, and to be involved in the church,? Koehn said.

Koehn serves as pastor of Alexanderfeld Church of God in Christ, Mennonite, located southwest of Hillsboro.

After retiring, he hopes to devote more time to the church, spend more time with people and study more.

Koehn said one reason he wanted to get out of the business was the stress that running a business brings. He also said long-term exposure to the chemicals they use isn?t the best thing for a person?s health.

Koehn said he puts in about 45 hours in an average week. He said now he will have more time to enjoy life.

Koehn will continue to be involved in the business, but on a smaller scale.

?I?ll still be helping out here when they need me,? Koehn said.

Koehn will remain owner of the business and his son-in-law will take it over after he retires. He said it is too soon to know if an additional employee will be hired.

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