Open for business: A closer look at Port’s own Jerome’s Auto Collision


August Zeidman

The Paint Mixing Room in Jerome’s Auto Collision

Sydney Kass, Contributing Writer

The Port Washington community is based around its well-established and welcoming small businesses: Jerome’s Auto Collision is just one of many that build the economy of our town.

Jerome Roestenberg opened his high-tech auto repair facility in 1976 when he was just 21 years old.  For him, choosing Port was no difficult decision, as his father father and uncle already had their own repair shops there.  Since then, he and the business he runs have been dedicated to servicing cars with quality and care.

The shop has undergone many expansions since that opening.  What began as a one-room garage now includes a paint booth, a mixing room, and a second garage.  Many of the walls are covered in slick stainless steel, giving the shop a clean, nostalgic fee.

Their staff do repairs on all varieties of cars including restorations of classic vehicles.  This sets them apart from other service stations in town, as there is often some sort of vintage vehicle in the back. 

“Our goal is to fix cars so that no one knows that any work was done.  We pride ourselves on doing high quality work,” said Roestenberg.

Additionally, the shop is a family business and the shop is also staffed by both of Roestenberg’s sons, Jerry and Mike.  This means that there is an especially strong bond among all the staff and the values of quality workmanship have been passed down generationally. 

Roestenberg is more than just a skilled businessman and mechanic; he is also an innovator.  Currently, he holds seven patents for equipment and processes, one of which includes a machine that simultaneously vacuums as it sands the outside of the vehicle. It’s very effective in properly prepping car parts and also minimizes the mess from the process. He designed much of the equipment in the shop and all renovations are done in house.

While Roestenberg does love Port Washington and his work, he admits, at times, it can be difficult, but that it’s still worth it.

“It’s challenging, but it’s rewarding,” said Roestenberg.  “There are taxes, the cost of labor, insurances but it’s easy to deal with the clients, who understand our goal to do high quality work and are very loyal.”

Additionally, he adores the community spirit and work ethic of Port’s residents. The town’s environment is very conducive to running a high-end body shop and Roestenberg has enjoyed considerable success.

“The people are very nice in Port Washington — mostly down to earth and hard working people with a good sense of reality, when it comes to challenges: you have to [be resolved to] earn what you have and be dedicated,” said Roestenberg.

Roestenberg truly cares about his interactions with clientele and their experience with his business.  His biggest rule is quality and there is no job that can be left half-done.  He credits his father and uncle for teaching him everything he knows and engraining these values in him.

“They taught me to be honest, do a quality job at a good value, how to maintain loyal clientele, and have respect,” said Roestenberg.

Roestenberg’s experience is a testament to the way Port Washington can be a welcoming business community with hard work and perseverance.  Over the years, he has built his business into a leader in the local auto community.