Jason Hughes has always loved cars. Whether he’s inspecting a set of shiny rims or a booming sound system, he finds every part of the automobile intriguing. The Baton Rouge native began repairing cars in high school and hasn’t stopped since.
Hughes opened his car repair shop, Capital City Collision, in 2015 after working in the automotive industry for four years. The 35-year-old wanted to combine his love for cars and real estate, so he channeled his creative efforts into transforming an abandoned warehouse on Scenic Highway into a thriving body shop.
His staff handles everything from collision repair and auto body painting to windshield replacement. They offer mechanical repairs, on-site car rentals, towing and shuttle services
But Capital City Collision isn’t all Hughes manages. In 2016, he started Project 70805. The nonprofit aims to empower, support and increase economic and social capital in north Baton Rouge through fundraising, free LEAP testing prep courses and beginner’s automotive training for eighth graders.
He is also the creative mastermind behind the annual Capital City Car Show. He started the family-friendly event in 2015 for local car owners, clubs and custom auto shops to showcase unique cars, trucks and motorcycles. During this year’s event— June 9 at Southern University—guests can view low-riders, race and sports cars, and vintage and modern vehicles. They can browse local vendors, too, including food from Gert’s Catering, Chill and Geaux, and T’s Sweets and Confections.
Through all of these ventures, Hughes has one main goal: to create a more united, educated and flourishing city for the youth. project70805.org
“There aren’t many people in my industry my age, and there are very few African American-owned full-service automotive repair facilities. So that was a big motivating factor for me when opening my body shop. Then with Project 70805, my goal is to give students hands-on experience learning automotive skills. Even if they end up not liking it, at least they’ll take something from it they can use later in life. I want to focus on our future, which is the kids. With them, we can change the narrative and negative stigma around the city as a whole, especially north Baton Rouge.”
This article was originally published in the June 2019 issue of 225 Magazine.