Celebrating Oakland Native Willie Anderson, Sr.’s More Than 40 Successful Years in Business
Willie’s Unique Auto Body Shop on Foothill Boulevard closed March 30 of this year, with the retirement of longtime proprietor Willie Anderson, Sr., who owned the property since the early 1980’s. He has now sold it.
“I have so much respect for my grandfather and want to acknowledge him and his accomplishments as he retires,” said Williams Chapel Baptist Church Sr. Pastor Dr. Kenneth Anderson.
“Our family has been committed to building community for a long time. And I specifically am committed to having more housing built in Oakland, so negotiated the sale of my Grandfather’s business to be used for market rate housing. The auto shop will be torn down and housing will be built,” said Dr. Anderson, whose church has an affordable housing development in process as well.
Born and raised in West Oakland, Mr. Willie Anderson grew up visiting his cousin’s body shop after school. In 1978, he and his brother George opened the original Unique Auto Body Shop at Seminary and E.14th Street.
“We had a buy-out from the City of Oakland and they helped us find our Foothill location. I just added ‘Willie’s’ to the name and have been here since,” said Mr. Anderson.
The Anderson family has deep community roots and a long history of service. Mr. Anderson, Sr. worships at his grandson Dr. Kenneth Anderson’s church, Williams Chapel Baptist Church. Mr. Anderson’s Father, Mr. Plez Paul Anderson was the eldest brother to the late Rev. Carl Anderson, whose church was at 18th and Market Street.
Married for 48 years to Sherry Anderson, who passed in 2010, Mr. Willie Anderson, Sr. seemed ready for retirement. Asked what he’ll do with all his free time, he responded, “I have five daughters, a son, eleven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren who will keep me plenty busy.”