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The Art of Restoration: Life, Craft and Hard Work

Lisa and Blue Sainz in Globe. Photo by Alexis Sainz

Blue and Lisa Saiz have built a thriving automotive business in Globe, atop a steep dirt hill and a lot of hard work.

“You take chances,” says Blue Saiz. “I’ve lost, yeah. But I’ve gained more than I’ve lost.”

Blue’s Shop, located at 106 West Ash Street (Highway 60), offers quality detailing, custom body work and paint, fabrication and U-Haul rentals. Eastbound drivers turn right; for those coming westbound, it’s a scary left. Drive under the Blue’s Shop sign, and up the hill, where you’ll find Blue and his crew and a great view of Globe. 

Building a Reputation, Ground Up

Blue and Lisa with some of the cars he has restored. His reputation has helped put Globe on the radar of car enthusiasts who seek him out to do work. Pictured here in historic downtown Globe, in front of the 30ft mural done by Chris Carnahan of Western Reprographics. Photo by Alexis Sainz

Blue’s Shop went into business as a detail shop. Then Blue hired a mechanic. A job doing detail on a single U-Haul vehicle led to a job doing the whole fleet. Blue and Lisa became U-Haul vendors. Soon after, Blues Fabrication was added. 

Now Blue and his talented team are building cars valued at $90-100K, from the ground up. A ‘51 Chevy from Duncan AZ. ‘68 Camaro from Florida. A man who had business with the mine came in for a detail and then asked for a full restoration. .

“He asked if I’d build him a Camaro,” Blue says, “with stuff out of a brand new Corvette.” 

Word of mouth has put Blue’s Shop on the map. The quality of his work is attracting top talent. A month ago a guy in Minnesota called; he wanted his 69 Bronco torn apart and built anew; he wasn’t asking for Blue’s references.

“I already did my footwork,” he told Blue, “I want you to build it.”

For Blue, the recognition is a bit overwhelming, but he has even bigger dreams for the future – a new showroom is in the plan, and in the dream, a TV show.

“I’d like to show the United States what we can do,” says Blue, “in historic, small town Globe.”

Blue also builds custom bikes; he has six of them but doesn’t ride any more. Lost too many friends that way. He still likes his hotrods. The ‘68 Chevy C10 has been a favorite for the past 30 years.

“All our hard work has paid off to an unforeseen blessing,” says Lisa. “If we wouldn’t have come this way, we’d still be down our dirt road.“

Humble Beginnings, Bold Moves

Word of mouth has put Blue’s Shop on the map and helped him attract top talent. Photo by Patti Daley

Blue and Lisa were young and just getting by when Blue saw a car on the side of the road and though they had bills to pay, he wanted to buy it.

“Within a week, I sold that car,” says Blue. “Doubled my money.” 

That’s when Blue knew this was something he could do, and that someday he would own his own business. For 25 years, he worked as a miner for Asarco. He fixed cars in the evenings and weekends.

“We bought our first property in Catalina,” says Lisa. “Dug all of it by hand.”

Blue traded a Camaro for a “piece of junk trailer” that became their house. They lived in it for a year as a family of four without gas or electricity. Lisa warmed their baths by fire. An ice chest held eggs, cheese and milk. Blue hung out with an old-school painter and learned the skill. 

In 2014, Lisa was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her youngest child was in high school and she ran a full-time daycare at home. By the time she was in remission, the kids were all gone. Lisa and Blue purchased a fifth wheel.

“We bounced around,” says Lisa. “We had fun.”

Both originally from Oracle, Blue and Lisa have known each other since first grade. They made their first communion together. Her family was poor, his parents were divorced. In high school, they reconnected when she approached him at a car wash. He had his defenses.

“If you’re looking to get married, I’m not your guy,” Blue declared. “I’ll never have kids and I’ll never have a four door.”

In January, the couple celebrated their 35th anniversary. They have three children, grandchildren, and two Queensland Heelers. Their first four-door was a 1988 Ford Tempo.


Blue and Lisa Saiz inside their shop. The couple has been together for 35 years and moved to Globe in 2016. Photo by Patti Daley

“It’s all about taking chances and making changes in our lives,” says Lisa.

Blue had always wanted to live in Globe. As a boy, his father would bring him here, to fight chickens at Wheatfield and go fishing at the river. He was just a kid driving through, but he thought it was a cool town.

“If you want to go, let’s go now,” Lisa said to Blue. 

Their 4-bedroom house in Catalina was paid for; the kids were grown and gone. Breast cancer was in remission. 

“I think she just called my bluff,” says Blue, “You’d better man up and go do it.”

They moved to Globe in 2016. Both are glad they did.

“We knew that we liked it when we first started meeting people,” says Lisa.

“People are real here,” says Blue. 

Blue had acquired a lot of vehicles by this time. A buddy led him to an old boat shop property for sale. Blue made an offer and Kenny Simpson, the old owner of the boat shop, responded.

“Son, I’m not laughing at you,” he said, “but there’s more in concrete here than what you’re offering.” 

A year later Mr. Simpson died and the realtor called; his kids accepted the Saiz offer. The house is currently under renovation. The property is littered with vehicles and other projects in waiting. Inside the huge shop, however, everything shines. A smokey custom paint job brings tears to a truck owner’s eyes. Next door, in the remains of his man cave, is Blue’s office and motorcycle showroom.

In addition to managing the detailing side of the business, Lisa Saiz cares for 4-6 children in her DES-certified home daycare. She began as a daycare provider 20 years ago; her first daycare kid is now 22 and a marine. 

“They’re like family,” says Blue, of Lisa’s little ones. “It’s amazing how they grow up and come back and give us hugs.” 

Self-professed workaholics, Lisa and Blue claim the biggest challenge is writing things down and remembering everything they need to do to keep everyone happy. Customers. Employees. The Kids. Themselves. 

“Couldn’t do it without her,” says Blue. “We have late nights to finish what we need to do to make it happen.”

He and Lisa also step up for the community. They sponsor a local softball team and motocross racer, Cason Olbera. 

“I want to encourage people,” says Blue. “I’m here to help.”

The shop, with its distinctive archway, is at the top of the hill just off Highway 60 in Globe. Photo by Patti Daley

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