Under the guidance of Charles D. Rife, the Rife family of Central Ohio have a rich history of entrepreneurial spirit and local business ownership.
From beginnings as farmers and wholesalers of fruit and vegetables both locally and nationally. Charles had 8 children of which 6 lived. Wayne, Mary, Paul, Donald, Chester, and Janet.
The family operated a local produce route in the Hilliard and the Ohio University area. First utilizing a horse and wagon and later trucks
Charles and his son Donald had a booth at Central Market in Columbus Ohio where local markets came to buy their fruits and vegetables “produce” to sell to the ultimate buyer you and me.
Donald owned and operated trucks hauling produce from all over the united states
Charles and Donald opened Rife’s market at 1417 W 5th Ave. on the corner of Grandview and Fifth avenues in what is now considered Grandview. They expanded their inventory to include meats, canned goods, and all things necessary to supply customers with daily nutrition.
Donald split off from the market and opened Rife Motor Sales at 1500 Grandview avenue. He sold used cars, motor cycles, and parts.
Donald opened Grandview-Fifth Auto Service at 1407 W. Fifth Avenue, specializing in mechanical repairs to cars and trucks. Donald employed life-long friend Charlie Rapp as his head mechanic. Their motto was “Auto Repair at a price you can bear”.
In the late 50’s Donald included auto body repair along with the mechanical business.
1960’s, 1970’s and early 1980’s
Over the years Donald added on to the building several times as the business grew.
Donald H. Rife Sr. bought the business from his father and continued its operation. Don Sr. and his wife Nancy have three children, Don Jr., Mark, and Melissa.
Donald H. Rife Sr. closed the mechanical portion of the shop to specialize in auto body repair.
Donald H. Rife Jr. came into the business as manager. At this time the family invested heavily in remodeling the building, certification of the employees and, purchased new equipment.
At this time the name of the business was changed to Rife’s Autobody-Grandview as it was Don Sr’s plan to open more shops around Columbus.
Don Sr. opened Rife’s Autobody-Westerville at 3310 Paris Court in Westerville Ohio. This shop’s foot print was about 8,000 square foot. Within a year or two it was necessary to add approximately 3,000 sf onto the existing facility.
Don Sr., his wife Nancy, Don Jr. opened Rife’s Autobody-Delaware in Delaware Ford. At this time son Mark joined the business as an estimator and daughter Melissa as the company accountant.
The Rife family purchased land and building at 2300 Cardigan avenue in Marble Cliff to replace the original shop on W. Fifth Avenue. The building was renovated and an expansion added giving a total sf of 19,000.
The family has operated other automotive related business but always come back to the collision repair business.
Don Jr. and Melissa open another business called Drive Smart which encompasses three subsidiaries, Car Smart, Scooter Smart, Boat Smart.
Currently the family operates the collision centers in Westerville, and Grandview along with Drive Smart.
We are the oldest family owned and operated collision repair shops in Columbus Ohio.
Our motto is “Quality Collision Repair Since 1944”.