Body shop closes in Hamilton after 83 years in business

The Ritzi Body Shop recently closed, after 83 years of operation. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Combined ShapeCaption
The Ritzi Body Shop recently closed, after 83 years of operation. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Ritzi Body Shop, which served Hamilton on Main Street for 83 years, has closed its doors.

Members of the Ritzi family were not available to comment last week, but Paul Ritzi Jr., a 1974 Badin High School graduate, who worked there since about 1968, told this media outlet in 2017, as the business celebrated its 80th anniversary, cars are much easier to repair today than when he started in the business.

“Automobiles right now are so much easier, to me, to work on than they used to be,” he said. That’s because dealerships got tired of difficult repairs, so they started designing them for simpler repairs, he said.

His Facebook page lists him as “Retired at Ritzi Body Shop, Inc.”

The business was founded by George Ritzi and Charlie Hogan in 1937, when Franklin D. Roosevelt was president and the average car cost $760. It passed from George Ritzi to his son, Paul Ritzi Sr.; and then his son, Paul Ritzi Jr., who ran the business with his son, Nick Ritzi.

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Dan Bates, president and CEO of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, expressed thanks for the family’s generations of work in the city, and hope for what might come next on the property, which has a for-sale sign posted on a building.

“It’s always sad to see the end of a line for a business, especially a family business,” Bates said. “But we’re excitedly anticipating what will go into that wonderful building.”

“We all look at that building and say, ‘Man, could that be a cool something — a bar, a diner, there’s a lot of things it could be.‘”

“I thanked the Ritzi family for preserving that landmark all this time, and having it ready to go for the next business,” Bates said. “So kudos to them.”

The closure comes at a time when new shops, bars and restaurants have been opening along the Main Street business corridor and in the city’s downtown. Many of them are doing so in anticipation of the December, 2021 opening of the under-construction Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill, which will attract 10,000 or more athletes and their families to the city some weekends.

Combined ShapeCaption
The Ritzi Body Shop recently closed, after 83 years of operation. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

The Ritzi Body Shop recently closed, after 83 years of operation. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Combined ShapeCaption
The Ritzi Body Shop recently closed, after 83 years of operation. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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