Bradenton bids farewell to ‘the emergency room of the automotive enterprise’

Constantino Body Shop on Ninth Street West in Bradenton closed on Friday after nearly 74 years. But owner Chris Constantino has no regrets. "I couldn’t ask for any more out of a vocation. Manatee County has really blessed me," he said. "We took care of people. That was important.”

Constantino Physique Store on Ninth Avenue West in Bradenton closed on Friday after practically 74 years. However proprietor Chris Constantino has no regrets. “I couldn’t ask for any extra out of a vocation. Manatee County has actually blessed me,” he mentioned. “We took care of individuals. That was necessary.”

Chris Costantino gazed across the empty work bays contained in the previous physique store on Ninth Avenue West. The storage was buzzing with 30 to 40 vehicles going out and in of the place each week.

Based in 1949, Costantino Physique Store was a Bradenton establishment.

“We have been type of the emergency room of the automotive enterprise,” the proprietor mentioned, wistfully.

No extra. After practically 74 years, the enterprise closed for good Friday.

“It’s time,” mentioned Chris, 71. “It’s a bit emotional, but it surely’s time.”

Vin Mannix

Vin Mannix

Why? It’s comprehensible.

“The pandemic began it. We acquired shut down. We had lots of people retire. Couldn’t discover sufficient assist. Components have been laborious to get. I wasn’t getting any youthful …”

Alas, the place is a part of him, his household.

His dad, Frank, an Italian immigrant, labored for Chris’s grandfather, Celestino Costantino, at an Orlando physique store earlier than World Struggle II. After the struggle, Frank and spouse Elouise got here to Bradenton and the Navy veteran labored at Ogle’s Storage & Physique Store first.

“However Dad needed his personal store and acquired this property, orange groves throughout us. There was a bit Cracker home out entrance the place I used to be born. My brother Ralph and I have been actually born and raised right here.”

Chris started studying the enterprise as a teenager, working there via faculty and finally returning for good.

“No regrets. If I needed to do it once more, I’d do precisely the identical factor. Again within the ’50s, ’60s, Dad would put in 15-16 hour days. Us? We began out 12-hour days, seven days per week. Dad would say, ‘C’mon boys, we’re going to work.’”

Frank is gone now. Sadly, so is Ralph.

Chris is happy with that legacy. Protecting, too.

“I couldn’t ask for any extra out of a vocation. Manatee County has actually blessed me. When you deal with anyone, do good work, they’re coming again. They’re loyal. We took care of individuals. That was necessary.”

So is the identify.

The enterprise has been offered, however the acquainted Costantino signal is coming down.

“Dad had gives for the store they usually needed the identify, too. However he labored laborious to get a very good repute and mentioned, ‘I’m not promoting the identify.’ He didn’t do it. I’m not going to do it.”

• The indefatigable Debbie “Shake Pit” Crowe is 39. Once more!

• So is Beth Borgen.

• A bow to Palmetto Excessive Athletic Director Bryan Wilkes, a Lifetime Service Award recipient from the Nationwide Wrestling Corridor of Fame’s Florida Chapter.

A two-time district champion and two-time state qualifier at Southeast, Wilkes wrestled at Carson-Newman Faculty, made the All-Marine Corps wrestling group, coached in Citrus County in 1986, assisted at Southeast in 1991, then began Palmetto’s program in 2005, main the Tigers to 5 Manatee County championships. And he nonetheless referees.

• Say it ain’t so! Akila Boyd hit the Huge 4-0!

Darcey Oakley Reecher, too!

Bianca Whidden, an educator for ladies and kids’s companies at Manatee Memorial Hospital, earned a grasp’s diploma in nursing training from the College of West Florida.

• Oh, no! Tina Fetchko is one yr shy of the Huge 6-0!

Jazmin Spencer, a sophomore exterior hitter from Brandon, was State Faculty of Florida’s student-athlete of the month for August.

• That’s 41 years of wedded bliss for Cheryl and Al Frank.

• And David Benton is 36.

Vin’s Folks runs Sundays. E-mail Vin Mannix at [email protected]. Or name 941-962-5944. Twitter: @vinmannix.

This text initially appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: VIN MANNIX: After nearly 74 years, a fond farewell to Constantino’s