Palmer’s business plan built on experience, passion

by Nathan Warner

Contributing writer

“Once I get going, I want to give back to the community by offering jobs and a special service for people who need it,” Brent Palmer said, standing outside his new Zimmerman-based autobody shop.

Palmer Collision and Customs opened in March. The shop faces the northbound lane of Highway 169 next to the Zimmerman Mini Storage building. Currently, Brent runs his shop out of a joint office with Zimmerman Mini Storage where he specializes in customs, restorations and collisions.

Brent Palmer with a ’48 Studebaker pickup he’s restoring. He has been restoring cars for over 15 years and recently opened his own auto-body shop this year in Zimmerman called Palmer Collision and Customs.

The shop has a full range of collision services, including frame straightening and alignment, accident restoration, full body painting, front-end repair and more.

But his real passion is for restoration and customs. He loves taking a car from a hulk of almost unrecognizable metal to a thing of beauty, far beyond its original condition.

Since opening Palmer Collision and Customs, he’s had steady business.

“To be the ‘go-to guy’ for this sort of thing, you have to understand how passionately people can feel about their cars,” Brent says, pointing to a picture of a locally owned ’65 Ford Mustang he recently completed. “You have to get a kick out of doing good work and treating someone’s vehicle with the respect it deserves.”

The Mustang’s blue surface appears smoother than glass and reflects the light like a mirror. Brent has 20 years of experience as a paint specialist at NAPA of Elk River and 15 years’ working on restorations and customs in the area.

He’s never had to advertise his services. Business comes by word of mouth.

“I’ve been around cars all my life,” the Elk River native explains. “My brother was a mechanic at an early age and my dad took me to lots of body shops as a boy.

“I won’t kid you — this is hard work, but after 35 years of working on cars, I still love them. You have to love them to stick with this job.”

So what makes it worthwhile for him? He smiles and runs his hand over a red ’48 Studebaker pickup truck that he is buffing in his drive-in, automotive paint booth.

“I like to unleash my perfectionism and take the job beyond my customers’ expectations,” he said. “That is what makes this job worthwhile — to see your customer pleasantly surprised when you show him what you’ve done.”

Palmer Collision and Customs also performs paintwork for motorcycles, snowmobiles, helmets and mailboxes.

Visit Palmer Collision and Customs at or call 763-856-3333.


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