Jason DeCamp and family

Jason DeCamp, left, holds his youngest daughter Nautica. With him are Jennifer Cunningham, standing behind her other daughters, Ember and Chloe. They had the front office all set for the grand opening. High winds and the threat of rain forced them to cancel the bounce house and they moved the prize drawing inside after some of their balloons were carried away by the wind. Photo by Stan Schwartz

Local family starts D-Stop Auto & Diesel

LOUISIANA—Jason DeCamp has lived in Louisiana all his life. For the past 10 years he’s worked in the auto servicing industry, repairing and servicing cars and trucks for other companies.

Not too long ago, he decided, with the help of his fiancé, Jennifer Cunningham, to start his own business. On Saturday, Nov. 21, he took the big step and held the grand opening of D-Stop Auto & Diesel.

Cunningham was still setting up for the grand opening and prize drawings while family and friends started to gather for the big event. Because it is a family owned business, they had wanted to have bounce house for their children and any others who came to witness the ribbon cutting ceremony.

“I’ve been working on cars in town for about 10 years between River City and MidAmerica,” he said. “I’ve always did like working on cars,” he added. “I wanted to strike out on my own.”

There are not many car inspection stations around, he added. In fact, he said there was only one other place in Louisiana for people to get their cars and trucks inspected. “I already had my license to do it,” Jason said, when he decided to open his own full service mechanics shop.

Jennifer added that, “We wanted to offer some quality work” for the people of Louisiana. “We heard a lot of people were going to Bowling Green for inspections that they can’t done here and then getting their cars repaired there, too.” With the new shop, the people of Louisiana can get their cars inspected locally, and if necessary, get it repaired at the same place. As part of this, the shop offers free towing and diagnostics with repairs.

Jason said he was born and raised in Louisiana. Jennifer said this is a family owned business. They had wanted to get married this year, but COVID got in the way, she explained. Jason had actually asked her to marry him in 2016, but then she got pregnant and, well, life just happened. They are now shooting toward an October 2021 wedding day. By then, they hope, the pandemic would have subsided enough for them to have a traditional wedding.

Jason said he’s looking forward to a fall wedding when the leaves are just starting to change.

The name for the business was derived from when Jason and his brother worked on cars out of their home garage. They named their place DEStop in a play on their last name DeCamp. Jennifer said they decided to drop the E out of the name to make it less confusing for customers.

“When I first met him, he already had the name he wanted to use for his shop when he went out on his own,” Jennifer said.

Over the years he’s worked as a mechanic, Jason said, he slowly accumulated all the tools he would need to open his own business.

They worked day and night for a few months to get the building at 3505 Georgia Street ready to open as an auto and diesel repair shop. It sits directly across the street from the business center that houses KC’s Place and other businesses.

“We had to take the awning off the front and put in garage doors to the repair bays.” He said. Then they put in a new front door to an office space they built.

The third bay in the shop is just for fleet vehicles, Jennifer said. The diesel repairs and servicing can be done on the weekends, when the trucks come out of service. And the other two service bays are open Monday through Friday for auto repairs and service.

They have been super busy getting everything ready, she added. They even got their children involved in helping out with the grand opening. Two of the older girls held signs by the roadway to let people know that the new shop was open and anyone who showed up would be entered into a drawing for free vehicle service.

Jennifer said a few people had stopped in during the week leading up to Saturday’s ceremony and asked what they did. She noted that they were working on getting a sign up by the road. They have a temporary one attached to the side of building. But even so, business had been steady all week, she noted.

“It’s been hectic,” she added.

Soon they will also be able to offer tire sales. Jennifer said they just finished negotiations with a tire distributor.

“We’re hoping to drop the tire prices in town and sell them for pretty much at cost,” she said.

Jason noted that he learned everything he needed over the years working at the other vehicle servicing companies. Even though he was a little nervous opening his own shop, it was something he’s always wanted to do.

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