When I first met Ken Wiseman he was living in his car, and focussing on his idea.

And the reason I want to tell you about Ken this week is that in three years, he’s stayed focussed on his idea, moving carefully along in his business, and continuing to excel at what he does.

And he’s no longer living in his car.

Ken is one of those guys who can work magic on dented metal... you know what I mean, the metal (or sometimes plastic) that takes a beating when you run into your son’s girlfriend’s mother’s car... he brings cars back to life with a deft touch and an honest eye for detail.

When Ken first moved to Barrie from Windsor, life wasn’t going all that well. He’d decided he wanted to go into business for himself, and make a new start in a new community with new associates. Being self employed meant Ken had to constantly choose where to spend what little money he had, putting first and last month’s deposit on 500 square feet of space at the back of B&R Heating on Gowan St in Allandale. He lived in his car in the parking area of the lot. You had to know exactly where Ken was in order to find him and he named his business, SGS Custom, after his three adult children living back in Windsor. It took careful financial planning before Ken was able to do complete auto body work from his location; at first he could do all the preliminary work at his little site, but had to rent spray booth space from another shop to complete the painting.

His meticulous attention to detail carried over from his approach to vehicles to his entire autobody set-up. For awhile he lived at his site, feeling it was the best place to be after someone broke in and stole all his tools, requiring him to start all over again. After the break-in, all Ken had left was a hand full of screwdrivers. He was still focussed and he was prepared to start over. Again.

Ken’s built his business one vehicle at a time, networking with other businesses to repair motorcycles, trucks, cars... anything capable of being dented in an accident.

I had occasion to meet Ken again this Christmas over the son’s girlfriend’s mother’s incident and what a transformation to the little shop at the rear! Ken now has 1000 square feet, the entire south end of the building, and is capable of working on two vehicles at a time in his spray booths, manages his office with his same meticulous attitude, and has an employee working with him.

The employee? Sean. One of the S’s in SGS Custom.

Has Barrie been good for Ken? It sure has. He says the bylaws for doing business are better. The people are friendly. The opportunity to move ahead is as good as one’s tenacity.

And why am I telling you about Ken Wiseman? Because I think there are many times when it would have been easier to give up, to blame life for giving a kick when a guy’s already down. But Ken found enough positive attitude in him to get up and start again. He’s a real asset to his profession; he’s an artist when it comes to his work; but mostly he’s focussed and determined to make it.

Thanks, Ken.

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