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A Resilient Latina, Example for Her Community

Mon, April 05, 2021 1:40 PM | Faby Carrera (Administrator)

Ms. Virginia Piña, owner of Brea Auto Body was born and raised in Los Angeles California. Virginia’s mother passed away when she was only 7 years old and she was raised by her father, who was an orphan himself.

Virginia’s first job was at 12, she graduated early from High School at 16 and was out of the house, on her own. Growing up in poverty, at 17, she started East LA Junior College, worked and went to school, walking and taking the bus. She received a scholarship to Ohio State but did not complete University because by the age of 20, she had married, was a widow and was a single mother. Virginia later married David Piña, and they had three daughters and 5 grandchildren. They worked very hard and pulled themselves and their family out of poverty. David was the love of her life, and after over 40 years together, he passed away in 2014 after a very long illness.

Virginia returned to college and received her AA in Business from Rio Hondo College when her children were young. Virginia was the first person in her family to graduate from college with an AA degree. In 2020 she proudly completed the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program.

In 1979, David came to her and wanted to start his own body shop. He was a technician and worked 7 days a week to support the family. With fear, lots of courage and a lot of sacrifice, Brea Auto Body was founded, with David and Virginia working together, while raising their young children while their small savings went into the business. Brea Auto Body has grown from 2 employees and two small bays, up to 14 employees and a 17,000 square foot state of the art facility.

In 2019, the building she occupied was sold and she was forced to move her location. She ran out of a satellite shop while her equipment was in 7 storage units, and moved a second time into her new location in Brea. Although 2020 / 21 has been a challenging year, as an essential business, Brea Auto Body remained open to serve the community.

Brea Auto Body has been voted #1 Best Body Shop in Orange County three times, by consumers on OC City Voter. Brea Auto Body is Honda and Acura and I-CAR Gold Certified, which means 3rd party yearly certification and on-going training with a high standard of excellence and equipment. Virginia cares about each customer that comes to her shop and continues the legacy, that she and her husband started with; to repair each vehicle as if it was their own. To always take care of the customer. To care for the crew and their families, and to give back to the community. To take care of her family.

Ms. Piña is involved with many charitable organizations. Virginia sits on the board of a 501(c)(3) organization, The Friends of the Trinitarians, which serves underserved communities in Mexico and the United States, offering access to education, music, practical skills, food and housing. Virginia has been part of this organization for over 20 years and has chaired multiple large fundraisers. Virginia and her family were awarded several community awards, including the National Auto Body Pride Award for Humanitarian Acts outside of the Industry.


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