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B&B Automotive rolls into former DeHayes shop

September 21, 2016
Jessica Salmond - News Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Live, breathe, and eat vehicles: that's the life of B&B Automotive owners, Ben Beckmann and Patrick Breen.

The two friends have set up shop in the old DeHayes body shop at the corner of Broadway Avenue and San Carlos Boulevard.

The site was occupied by Goben Cars until a few weeks ago.

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Ben Beckmann and Patrick Breen opened B&B Automotive Monday, Sept. 12.

"We saw it was for lease, the day they put the sign up," Beckmann said.

He and Breen had taken their families to the beach, and when they saw the for-lease sign, they saw an opportunity they couldn't pass up.

"It's the perfect location, and we love the locals," Beckmann said.

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The two men are Fort Myers natives, and both have been tinkering with cars and trucks for years. They both have ASE certification, and while they've worked in shops around the area, it's their first venture together.

Breen's wife, Amanda, also grew up around mechanics - her father owned a 75-year-old yacht mechanics company in the Keys. Their 3-year-old son already loves cars and trucks.

"It seemed natural to open a shop and let our son grow up the way (Amanda) did," Breen said.

Open now, B&B is a full-service shop, servicing all makes and models. They will also offer a shuttle for customers within 10 miles to take them back to their homes or businesses, traffic allowing. For now it's just the two men, but they're already interviewing candidates for additional mechanics. They're just occupying the back building, but are considering leasing the former sales building in the future.

Both men also enjoy doing body work - Beckmann said Breen has had a new truck to work on every year, adding custom specialty work like raised.

"We're always trying to push what we can do with a vehicle," Breen said.

Both also rebuild classics and work on motorcycles. Amanda Breen drives a 1932 Ford.

The owners will hold a grand opening Saturday, Oct. 22, partnering with Beach Bowl across the street.

Beckmann said they want to be involved in the community and make their shop a resource for the locals - which will include discounts for beach residents.

The iconic pink elephant and the pink exterior are staying - they like it, they said.

The pink elephant draws people in - Breen said people stop in all day to take photos of it, rather than his jacked-up truck.

"We thought the truck would get more attention, but everyone loves the elephant," he said.



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