Johnny Bang, owner of Johnny Bang's Bang and Bump Shop in Tomball, was no typical teenager. At age 18, the Tomball businessman bought his grandfather's body shop along with a co-worker and spent half of his days in school and often repaired cars late into the evenings.
The Bellaire shop thrived for years, and Bang bought out his partner and became the sole owner at age 21. He attributes his work ethic to his grandfather, Milam Murphy, who became a role model after Bang's father died when Bang was 14 years old.
"My grandfather worked almost every day until he died," Bang said.
In 1977, Bang moved to Tomball with the help of Houston singer Robert Earl Keen's mother, a family friend and attorney, who helped locate a plot of land in the area. Bang restored and demolished several of the old buildings to transform the property into his home and the site of his body shop when it opened in 1984.
"I drove to my shop in Bellaire for seven years until I decided to sell and start a shop in Tomball," Bang said. "I basically did everything myself and we got by. It took about five years to get going, but we made it."
Now, Johnny Bang's Bang and Bump Shop has 16 employees who work in five buildings at 15277 E. Hufsmith Road. Bang remains passionate about the automobile industry and continues to serve as an advocate for local businesses. In 2013, Bang was named member of the year by the Automotive Service Association of Texas for spending time at the state Capitol lobbying for tax equality for independent body shops.
In the decades since moving to Tomball, Bang has made it a priority to play an involved and active role in the community. He is a board member for the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce and helps the Tomball Lions Club with fundraising efforts and its golf tournament.
"Johnny is the kindest guy who, if you need anything, he will give you the shirt off of his back," said Rev. Joseph Koelpin at Abiding Faith Lutheran Church, which Bang helped establish in 1982.
"He doesn't really care who you are and doesn't distinguish if you are going to do something for him—he treats everyone with respect."
Koelpin joined the Pinehurst church in 2009, and said he has had many conversations with Bang about his dedication to his work, customers and the community as a whole.
For Bang, passion for serving others is more important than receiving a paycheck, Koelpin said.
"The more you give to the community the more you get back, and Tomball has been so good to me," Bang said. "I try to stay as active as I can."
Johnny Bang's Bang and Bump Shop, 1527 E. Hufsmith Road, Tomball 281-351-4482, Hours: Mon.–Fri. 8 a.m.–6 p.m., closed weekends