By Christine Walters

Triplicate business columnist

Two Guys has operated for more than 26 years at 775 Highway 101 South, providing a variety of metal fabrication and automotive services. Mike Ritter and Mike Evans were the original andquot;two guysandquot; who started the business in 1980. Jake Ritter joined as a third partner in 1984, and here he discusses the history of the business.

Q: What do you do and how long have you been doing it?

A: We started in 1980 as a metal fabrication shop. The major thing we did was make wood stoves out of iron and install them. We also did tire work at the time, too, because the building we bought here was set up for tires as well as metal work. We soon expanded into selling spas, because we have prior spa experience. We also sell trailers. We do car exhausts, automotive repair and we do rental cars also. Our car rental subdivision is called Express Auto Rental, and we sell used rental cars in good condition at wholesale prices.

Q: How long have you lived in Del Norte County?

A: I've been here since 1984. Mike has been here since 1980. We came from Orange County. Mike and another partner, Mike Evans, bought it first, and then I came up as a third partner later. Mike Evans died of Hodgkin's disease in about 1990.

Q: What inspired you to go into this line of work?

A: Before we moved here, my brother Mike was a fire captain and I was in real estate financing. Mike Evans and my brother were involved with metal fabrication and hotrod building on the side. Mike Evans inherited property up here and so he moved up here. Then he got ill, and my brother Mike came up here, too, to help with the family. Then the two of them bought this building.

I was wanting to get out of the rat race of Orange County and change my career. They invited me up here to be a third partner and handle the financing and the business venturing, and I was experienced in that, so I said, andquot;Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.andquot;

Q: Is your family involved in the day-to-day operation of your business?

A: Just the two of us. In the past, when Mike's girls, Amy Drown and Katie Smith, and my sons, Joshua and Aaron Ritter, were in high school, they were involved, but they've all gone on to different interests now.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your business?

A: The Bible studies in the morning. We hold a Bible study every morning from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and whoever in the business wants to come to it does, and whoever else in town wants to come to it does, and then at 9:00, that's when we open our doors. It's not required, but it sure is welcome.

Q: What advice could you offer to budding entrepreneurs?

A: In a business, capital is always the largest requirement. Anybody going into business needs to put a budget together for at least the first 12 months, and to have the necessary capital to sustain them for the first 12 months.

Reach Christine Walters at 954-7703