By Zachary Daum
Don Krausz founded South Side Auto Body in Mascoutah marking the beginning of a legacy that has thrived for 55 years. ‘Where By Accident We Meet” has been it’s motto. His son, Danny Krausz, shares the journey and memories of the auto body shop’s development.
The story begins in 1965 when Don and his wife Mary Lou purchased a property on the corner of Independence and South Street which had a 100 foot by 50 foot building. The building, at the time abandoned, had once been occupied by “The Jet Grill” was in the south half while rabbits and chickens were raised in the north half. Krausz homesteaded the property by removing 27 trees of an orchard that stood on the corner.
According to Danny Krausz, his dad always had a passion to own his own shop. Don started as a young man with Red’s Auto Body in 1954; then with Elmer’s Auto Body in 1957, which resided west of St. John’s Church (now a parking lot). Before Krausz officially opened on February 7, 1969, Benner Naumann Co. contacted him & made telephone booths in 1967 and 1968. This company outgrew the building and moved on.
Danny reflects on his early days, saying, “After school, Icame here and I learned the trade by sweeping floors for 25 cents an hour.
In 1996, Kevin Davis started the same way Danny did. After school and learning at a young age.
Now, the shop had 3 full-time employees and one part-time.
In 2001, at the age of only 66, Don Krausz passed away. Danny had lost his partner and father and was left with big shoes to fill.
In 2007, Dan’s Auto Body temporarily joined up with South Side Auto Body after a fire struck their building. “This was great. We had the extra manpower that we both needed from time to time.” After 7 years the building became too small and could no longer be added on to.
Unfortunately, Danny finds himself in the office more than the body shop due to the detail required for each repair that comes through his business.
In March of 2020, his wife, Lisa, joined him by managing the office. He comments his business would not be a success without his employees, Kevin Davis, shop manager, and Adam Johnson, lead painter. Danny emphasizes treating customers fairly and a commitment to customer satisfaction were principles instilled by his father.