For Bismark Loaisiga, the auto repair shop at 1670 15th St. near Julian Avenue has been a family affair.
His uncle opened America’s Body & Fender Inc., now Bismark Auto Body & Paint, 30 years ago when he arrived from Nicaragua. Loaisiga has been working there since he turned 17.
The family moved to the Mission in 2004. Loaisiga never left.
“This is the hood where I came,” he said, shortly after greeting a passerby.
When his uncle retired two years ago, he left Loaisiga, now 33 years old, the shop.
“I’m doing what I like,” he said. “I can stay here all day, and I feel happy and free.”
The Mission is an ideal place for a businessman whose first language is Spanish, he said. And, he added, he knows how to run a business here. He enjoys his customers and tries to give families who need it a break on repairs.
The pandemic made it difficult, as a business owner and a parent.
People drove much less and didn’t want to spend money on fixing their cars, meaning he had to lay workers off, he said. And, as a single father, he’s had to bring his 9-year-old son to the shop for online schooling several times a week.
However, Loaisiga’s staff is now vaccinated, and business has improved, especially with California’s June 15 reopening, which has allowed vaccinated people to forgo masks indoors and businesses to open at 100 percent capacity.
“I think things are going to change for the good,” he said.