SHOWCASE SHOP AND PRODUCT
TOOLS // TECHNIQUES // TESTIMONIALS
June 2019 // autobodynews.com Brought to you by:
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Elite Paint & Body
Big Sky Collision
Cervini’s Auto Designs
West Palm Beach, FL
LaMettry’s Collision 8-9
Deano’s Collision & Mechanical Specialists
San Diego, CA
Gerber Collision & Glass Duluth, GA
Sherwin-Williams Schaefer Autobody Centers St. Louis, MO
Fix Auto Chicago Chicago, IL
Mike’s Auto Body 22-23
Carrillo & Sons Collision Center 12-13
SATA Dan-Am Company
USI of North America
G & C Auto Body Sonoma Cty., Marin Cty., Mendocino Cty., Solano Cty., CA
Roland’s Auto Body White Plains, NY
CARSTAR Collision Centers, Inc. Fitchburg, MA
Axalta Coating Systems Elk River, MN
Rickenbaugh Automotive Group Collision Center Denver, CO
Autel Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN
Bill Ussery Motors Collision Center
Ankeny Auto Body Ankeny, IA
Dimmitt Collision Center Oldsmar, FL
2 JUNE 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS | Shop and Product Showcase
New 3M™ Trizact™ Hookit™ Foam Abrasive Disc, 8000 Grit Saves Shop Time and Money
by Autobody News Staff
Michael Holman, a detailing technician at Elite Paint & Body in Palm Beach, FL, who began detailing cars when he was only 9, is already an industry veteran at 25 years old. At age 14, he started working officially at a body shop and turned heads almost immediately for his work ethic and eye for detail. “Detailing vehicles is a lot more than just washing cars. A good detailer can really make or break a shop,” he said. “I’m the last person to touch a vehicle before it goes back to the customer, so it’s not just wax on, wax off; it’s also about quality control. I knew early on that I wanted to perfect my craft and do the best work I possibly could, and working for a great shop like Elite helps.” Having the finest products available helps enable Holman to perform a spectacular job on each and every vehicle. “3M is the standard in this industry, and I’ve been using their products from the very beginning,” Holman said. “One morning I came in for work and the 3M™ Trizact™ Hookit™ Foam Abrasive Disc, 8000 grit was sitting there. They told me to try it, and I realized immediately that it would make my life a lot easier.” Holman’s boss at Elite Paint & Body is the shop’s owner, John Hauser, who proudly repairs expensive European cars for his discerning customers in the Palm Beach area. “Many of our customers drive Audis, Jaguars, Mercedes-Benzes and BMWs and expect top customer service and quality,” Hauser said. “These cars have to be pristine when they leave here, whether it’s a Hyundai or a Jaguar, so Holman’s role here is critical.” Hauser uses a lot of 3M products and is always looking for new things that can help him do a better job. “Our 3M rep, Jay Guadalupe, picked us to test their 3M™ Trizact™ Hookit™ Foam Abrasive Disc, 8000 grit for 30 days,” he said. “3M wanted our feedback before it goes national on June 1, and we have nothing but
Elite Paint & Body
Location: West Palm Beach, FL (561) 848-8855 Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: Eight In Business Since: 1983
Number of Locations: One DRP Programs: One
Combined Production Space: 5,000 square feet
Elite Paint & Body was used as a testing shop for the 3M™ Trizact™ Hookit™ Foam Abrasive Disc, 8000 grit system, one of its newest products.
positive things to say about it.” It used to take Holman 45–60 minutes to detail a car, but now by using 3M™ Trizact™ Hookit™ Foam Abrasive Disc, 8000 grit he’s more efficient than ever. “I’m saving at least 15 minutes on every job, which is awesome. It removes the smallest scratches to eliminate the need for compounding and it also reduces the total polishing time. We haven’t really been able to figure out how much money we’re saving yet, but I’m sure it’s significant.” Holman is cutting detailed finishing and polishing steps with 3M™ Trizact™ Hookit™ Foam Abrasive Disc, 8000 grit, he said. “I’m getting a fast and extremely consistent cut and able to skip the 5000,” he said. “I’m going straight directly from 3000 to 8000 and removing even the smallest scratches easily. The 8000 is a fine grade abrasive that really delivers refined finishes to auto clear coats, and is also great for wet sanding in order to reduce dust and prolong sheet life. If I detail eight cars daily, for example, that means I am saving two hours every day, 10 hours a week. When we’re busy and I need to turn things around quickly, that means a lot, so I’m pleased with this system.” “I learned many years ago that quality and safety are more important than just making money, and
we’ve built our business around that. We won’t skimp on parts or products because in the end, we’re serving the customer, and they deserve the best,” said Hauser. Part of Hauser’s success stems from the fact that his team members are dedicated to their jobs and are loyal to the shop, he said. His small but highly productive crew consists of two body men, one painter, one combo tech and the aforementioned Holman. He is able to retain them while other shops struggle to find good people. “I’m often asked, what’s the secret for getting the best people and keeping them around?” said Hauser. “I tell them to pay them well and don’t treat them like employees, and it will work. I told myself that when I got a shop, I’d make sure to treat my customers right, and that’s why we’ve been around for 36 years.” Starting on June 1, the 3M™ Trizact™ Hookit™ Foam Abrasive Disc, 8000 grit system will be available nationally, so ask your 3M rep about it and request a sample. Selected detailers and painter helpers like Michael Holman at Elite Paint & Body have already seen the system in action, so they know it’s the real thing. “We’ve used it all up during the testing process, so we’re anxious to get more in here and make it part of our daily production,” said Holman.
Elite’s Detailing Technician Michael Holman is delighted with the results he gets with the 3M™ Trizact™ Hookit™ Foam Abrasive Disc, 8000 grit system.
Holman (left) and Elite’s Owner John Hauser are all-in when it comes to 3M and its products. 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division 3M Center 223-6S-07 St. Paul, MN 55144-1000 (877) 666-2277 3MCollision.com
Shop and Product Showcase | AUTOBODY NEWS JUNE 2019 3
4 JUNE 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS | Shop and Product Showcase
Accudraft Helps Dimmitt Collision Produce Flawless Results on Luxury Vehicles
by Autobody News Staff
As a dealership shop specializing in luxury vehicles, Dimmitt Collision Center knows its customers don’t just expect their vehicles to function correctly when they are returned— they also expect them to look great. Dimmitt Collision Director Harry Blackledge shared, “The results we achieve with Accudraft’s Titan downdraft paint booths allow us to exceed our customers’ expectations on even the most luxurious vehicles.” When the 38,000-square-foot facility opened in June 2018, Dimmitt Collision invested in three Accudraft Titan downdraft paint booths and an Accumix paint mixing room, allowing painters to efficiently produce flawless results on the luxury vehicles they repair. Blackledge noted, “With the size of the Titans, we are seeing more throughput in our booths, allowing us to do more jobs per day by increased flash and cure times. Our team members are very happy with the Accudraft booths because they work great and allow us to produce more hours and increase production.” As a shop that repairs an average of 130 vehicles each month, Dimmitt Collision needs to be wellequipped and efficient. The use of Accudraft’s Titan booths allows the shop to produce high-quality jobs more quickly due to the product’s unparalleled airflow and contamination controls. The EnergySmart technology allows Dimmitt to save up to 50 percent on energy bills, and the dual mode technology provides an easy switch between water-based and solvent-based modes, allowing them to prepare for the next project while the last is being completed. Dimmitt Collision Center began using Accudraft’s booths in 2014. Despite researching other paint booth manufacturers before opening the new facility, “We just kept coming back to Accudraft because of the features they offer and their competitive pricing,” Blackledge said. “We’ve had great success with Accudraft products, and it was definitely the right decision to continue with this brand.” Blackledge credits distributor Doug Hines of CDHINES for helping Dimmitt choose the best Accudraft paint booths for the shop. “Doug has been instrumental in
Dimmitt Collision Center Location: Oldsmar, FL (727) 797-7070 www.dimmitt.com
Company At A Glance...
Type: Dealership Collision Facility Employees: 27
In Business Since: 1924 (dealership) Number of Locations: One The size of Accudraft’s Titan paint booth and its technology allow Dimmitt Collision to process more jobs faster without sacrificing quality for efficiency.
servicing our original spray booths and with the sales and installation of our new Titan spray booths. Doug is a great representative for the Accudraft lines, and his service is exceptional,” Blackledge said. Completing set-up for its new facility, Dimmitt Collision Center also installed a three-sided Accumix paint mixing room next to the booths to maximize productivity. The codecompliant area allows paints to be mixed and stored safely and provides a controlled environment for the refinish portion of each repair job. Using Accudraft’s Titan paint booths was easy for Dimmitt’s painters because they already had experience with Accudraft’s technology. When Dimmitt first converted to Accudraft’s booths in 2014, Blackledge recalled, “Accudraft’s control panel was a little different from what we were used to, but it was easy to learn. It was leagues better than the other technology available at the time—and the quality product we received is something I can’t say about other manufacturers! We’ve always gotten great reliability from Accudraft.” Dimmitt Collision Center team members are thrilled with how perfectly the Accudraft Titans configure into their new facility and help them maintain their high standards of service and results. “The Titan line from Accudraft is superior to our previous spray booths in several ways,” Blackledge said. “They allow more air flow during the spray and drying cycle, which allows for faster dry times when needed. Plus, the size of the spray booths allows us to do more at one time ver-
sus going in and out of the booths multiple times for the same vehicle.” Dimmitt Collision Center is part of the Dimmitt Automotive Group, which was founded by Larry Dimmitt Sr. in 1924. The organization has grown over the years, adding Cadillac in 1965 and Toyota in 1985. Since then, Range Rover, RollsRoyce/Bentley, Jaguar, McLaren, Aston Martin and Audi dealerships have been added under the Dimmitt name. Dimmitt Automotive Group is now owned by Larry Dimmitt Sr.’s grandson, Richard Dimmitt Sr. Dimmitt Collision Center holds 10 OEM certifications and is I-CAR Gold-certified. In addition to its primary facility, the shop employs three remote estimators at other Dimmitt dealerships. The shop maintains environmental compliance by recycling with KPA Compliance Solutions, and it uses Glasurit 90-line waterborne paints. Blackledge shared, “The Dimmitt family and organization are involved in numerous community organizations. If there’s a charitable organization that the company is involved with, you will see the Dimmitt family and leadership team actively involved. The Dimmitt family follows the principle of having a servant’s heart and encourages their team members to follow this example. Volunteering with charitable organizations is just one of our ways.” A high-quality shop such as Dimmitt Collision Center requires highquality products to properly serve its customers. Dimmitt has found a key tool to its success in Accudraft’s Titan downdraft paint booths and the Accumix paint mixing room.
DRP Programs: Five
Combined Production Space: 38,000 square feet
Because Dimmitt Collision Center specializes in high-end, luxury vehicles, the products its team members use must help them adhere to their customers’ high expectations. This is why they use Accudraft’s Titan downdraft paint booths and Accumix paint mixing room.
Dimmitt Collision Director Larry Blackledge shared, “The flawless results we achieve with Accudraft’s Titan downdraft paint booths allow us to exceed our customers’ expectations on even the most luxurious vehicles.”
Accudraft 961 Rt. 10 E, Ste 2K Randolph, NJ 07869 (800) 524-0340 x112 Info@accudraftpaintbooths.com www.accudraftpaintbooths.com
Shop and Product Showcase | AUTOBODY NEWS JUNE 2019 5
6 JUNE 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS | Shop and Product Showcase
Ankeny Auto Body Shoots & Scores With AkzoNobel Ankeny Auto Body
by Autobody News Staff
Owner Mark Martin of Ankeny Auto Body in Iowa is a big hockey fan. A few years back, his shop even customized a Zamboni to seat 10 people. It is used by the Iowa Wild hockey team to give fans free rides at games. As a second-generation operator, Martin took over the business in 1990 after his mother, father and brother ran it for more than 12 years. Much of their success is credited to using top products and tools to fix roughly 80 vehicles per month. Part of their winning formula revolves around the fact that Ankeny Auto Body began using Sikkens, a leading AkzoNobel vehicle refinish brand, in 1992 and its Autowave waterborne product since 2011 to provide incredible finishes while protecting the environment. A graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in Business Management and Construction Engineering, Martin worked as a contractor for five years before entering the family business. “I was playing pond hockey with a long-term friend of mine one day and all of a sudden he told me that I should take over the family shop,” Martin said. “It seemed a little out of the blue at the time, but it made me think and convinced me that I should enter the collision repair industry.” Soon after, Martin broke the ice with his family and told them of his decision. “Both of my parents had retired from the business and my brother was running the shop,” he said. “But, when I told them I wanted to take it over, my mother came out of retirement after 20 years and ran the office until she finally retired at age 88.” Over the years, Martin has worked hard to make all the right moves, and has received many accolades from his customers as a result. When he entered the picture, Ankeny Auto Body had two employees and operated out of a 3,000square-foot facility that was repairing an average of 20 cars per month. Today the shop has a dozen employees to fix 80 cars monthly out of a 15,000-square-foot building. When Martin made the switch to spray Sikkens Autowave almost two decades ago, he did it for several rea-
Location: Ankeny, IA (515) 964-7291 www.ankenyautobody.com Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 12
In Business Since: 1978
Number of Locations: One DRP Programs: 10 (l to r) CSR Shelli White, blueprinter Jim Schafer, GM Phil Ulvestad, owner Mark Martin and parts manager Brenna Tomlin are part of the success of Ankeny Auto Body.
sons that have paid off on many levels, he said. “We knew that the City of Ankeny was going to grow and that our volume was going to increase, so we wanted a reliable paint that would help us to accommodate our steady growth. In addition, we wanted to work with a company that would be a good partner for us by helping us in every aspect of the business, and that is exactly what AkzoNobel has done for us.” One of the smartest things Martin has ever done was joining the Acoat Selected 20 Group and utilizing its G5 cutting-edge lean production system, he said. “These business improvement programs have made us a better company, because we interact on a regular basis with top shops and meet in person with them at a different location every six months,” Martin said. “We’ve learned about best practices, doing financial analysis, developing marketing and business plans and getting technical information that we can’t get anywhere else. Part of our success is due to the fact that we continually work on our business, as opposed to working in it.” For his color matching, Martin’s crew uses AkzoNobel’s Automatchic Vision to precisely measure and match the existing color on any area of a vehicle. It consists of two elements— Automatchic Vision, the latest generation of AkzoNobel’s hand-held device that digitally analyzes color, and the Automatchic Smart Search, a color retrieval software that provides the optimum color
formula to get dead-on matches every time. Another sage decision that Martin made less than a year ago was acquiring AkzoNobel’s Carbeat™ system, a highly intuitive and practical tool that visually represents work in production and identifies the status of a repair at a glance. “We have an 80-inch computer touch screen that blows away anything else that exists,” Martin said. “It gives us real-time vehicle status information so that we are all on the same page all the time. It’s a cloudbased user-friendly application, and all of our technicians use it daily. We’re still learning more about it and finding new ways to improve our workflow, efficiency and communication by painting a clear picture of what we’re doing in real-time.” Enamored with Sikkens Autowave and delighted with all of the great tools and advice that come with it, Martin also appreciates the support he receives from his jobber, the Body Parts Store in Des Moines, IA. “When we switched to Sikkens, we began working with Kim and Jon Snyder, the owners of the Body Parts Store, and it’s been wonderful. They know our business plan and our goals here and provide us with outstanding support.” A great product, amazing support and some of the newest technology in the industry today—it’s a hat trick that Mark Martin and Ankeny Auto Body are using to score and get winning results consistently.
Combined Production Space: 15,000 square feet
Head painter Jordan Hoffman loves the finished product that he gets every time with Sikkens Autowave by AkzoNobel.
Mark Martin, owner of Ankeny Auto Body, is always ahead of the game, which is why he is using Sikkens Autowave by AkzoNobel.
AkzoNobel 1845 Maxwell Drive Troy, MI 48084 www.akzonobel.com
Shop and Product Showcase | AUTOBODY NEWS JUNE 2019 7
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8 JUNE 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS | Shop and Product Showcase
TRAINING V IDEOS
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LaMettry’s Collision Keeps Diagnostics In-House by Using Autel’s Cutting-Edge Tools
by Autobody News Staff
Jason “Buck” Zeise is the mechanical operations manager at LaMettry’s Collision, an MSO often in the news for being a forward-thinking and award-winning company with nine locations in the Twin Cities, MN, area. Established in 1976, LaMettry’s has continued to grow by adhering to the company’s vision statement of “leading the automotive repair industry with commitment to the finest workmanship and treating all people and vehicles with the utmost respect.” LaMettry’s Collision fixes an average of 1,200 to 1,500 vehicles every month. CEO Joanne LaMettry and her sons, J.R. and Randy, run the company. J.R. and Randy grew up in the business and learned the industry by performing literally every job that could be performed in a body shop. Every LaMettry’s location adheres to industry best practices, including the performance of pre- and post-vehicle scans on every car repaired—a company policy since November 2015. LaMettry’s also works hard to maintain a wide range of OEM certifications and is the only shop in Minnesota authorized to repair Teslas. To provide some of the finest automotive diagnostics services in the industry today, LaMettry’s proudly uses scanning systems made by Autel, one of the world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of professional diagnostic tools, equipment and accessories in the automotive aftermarket since 2004. With a crew of 20 mechanics, Zeise has worked at LaMettry’s since 2008 and managed the mechanical side for the company since 2015, so he has witnessed the evolution of vehicle diagnostics and how it has affected the collision repair industry firsthand. To handle his company’s huge workload, which includes PDR, glass, 24-hour towing and ClearGuard services, Zeise needs scanners that are reliable, up-to-date and relatively easy to use. Seventy percent of all the mechanical repairs that Zeise’s crew performs are collision-related and done in-house or on the road by two mobile techs that do most of the more complex diagnostics. The company currently has nine MaxiSYS MS906BTs,
Location: Minneapolis and St. Paul area, MN (952) 941-5586 www.lamettrys.com Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 350
In Business Since: 1976 Jason “Buck” Zeise, the mechanical operations manager at LaMettry’s Collision, calls upon his Autel MaxiSYS ADAS diagnostic tablet and the Autel ADAS Calibration Frame every day.
one MaxiSYS MS906TS and a MaxiSYS Elite to perform J2534 module programming, in addition to one of the newest release tools, the Autel MaxiSYS Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) Calibration tool package, to ensure all modern vehicles equipped with radar and camera safety systems are calibrated perfectly before leaving the shop. LaMettry’s Autel diagnostic tools make Zeise’s department look good, he said. “We’re busy all the time, and we use our Autel devices for most of our diagnostics, including all of the electronics, airbags, restraint systems, steering, suspension, some air conditioning work and all of the ADAS calibrations these newer cars require,” Zeise said. “We always say that our role is to get these cars running right and to make them safe while the collision side makes them pretty.” Zeise was introduced to Autel randomly after some thieves broke into his van five years ago, giving him an opportunity to do an impromptu product comparison. “All my scan tools were stolen, so I ended up getting an Autel scanner and a competing device at the same time to do a comparison,” he said. “Quickly, I discovered that the Autel scan tool was more up-to-date with an intuitive interface and a ton of capabilities that the other scanner didn’t have. It allows me to create PDFs to attach to our repair files for when they go over to the collision side.” Autel has all of the scan tool capabilities that Zeise expects such tools to have and more, he said.
“We have to generate a lot of reports, so we need a scanning system that will do that fast and seamlessly,” he said. “We also need scanners that are highly intuitive so my crew doesn’t have to do a lot of homework to use them. Their capabilities, such as bi-directional control, initializations and calibrations, mean that we don’t have to sublet our diagnostics to a dealership 90 percent of time. And finally, the vehicle coverage that Autel gives us is superior across the board.” Autel stands out for its comprehensive OEM information—whether it’s for a Ford, Fiat or Ferrari—especially to an MSO like LaMettry’s, which will often repair up to 20 brands every day. “We used to have to take many of our European vehicles to the dealerships, but now we’re doing them all in-house,” Zeise said. “Our Autel scanning tools tell us when an update is available for each vehicle make, so we can download the information in less than an hour by simply clicking on it.” Zeise and his crew are enthused about using their Autel MaxiSys advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) calibration tool many times daily. They will be buying a second one later this year. “When you acquire a good piece of equipment, it’s not an expense— it’s an investment. Our Autel diagnostic scanning tools have definitely paid for themselves several times over,” he said. “Diagnostics are going to become a bigger and bigger part of everything we do, so our mutually beneficial relationship with Autel is important.”
Number of Locations: Nine DRP Programs: 12+
Master electronics and safety systems technician Paul Bostel uses the Autel scan tool to perform a pre-scan/blueprint scan on a vehicle at LaMettry’s Collision.
With a crew of 20 mechanics, LaMettry’s has been offering mechanical repair services since 2015.
Autel Farmingdale, NY (518) 240-5197 www.Autel.com
Shop and Product Showcase | AUTOBODY NEWS JUNE 2019 9
10 JUNE 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS | Shop and Product Showcase
Deano’s Collision Enjoys Easy Color Matching With Axalta’s Acquire and Spies Hecker Permahyd Hi-TEC Paint
by Autobody News Staff
Color-matching is often one of the most challenging aspects of the repair process due to the multitude of variables impacting the results. “We pride ourselves on colormatching, but it’s not always a simple task,” said Tom Wistrom, owner of Deano’s Collision and Mechanical Specialists in Elk River, MN. “Lots of research and education are required to ensure we are utilizing the best procedures, technology and tools. Our customers are trusting us to return their vehicle to preaccident condition and beyond.” Brandon Wistrom, general manager, added, “The variations we’re seeing within the OEM colors tend to be a nonstop battle, so color-matching is incredibly important for us. Color-matching became much easier when we started using the Acquire™ Quantum EFX by Axalta Coating Systems because it gives us a better starting point. Using the Acquire, along with Axalta’s coatings, provides us with a superior product, and when we deliver the repaired vehicle, we know it’s done and it’s done right.” Randy Porter, production manager at Deano’s, said, “Using the Acquire is much more efficient. We get to our color match quicker. The Acquire is able to look at different angles, resulting in a closer flake value. When the technology came out in the early 1990s, the first time I used the camera, I was amazed at the results and thought this might be the thing we’re going to use from now on … Each camera generation has been a step in the right direction. When the Quantum EFX came out, I was taken back at the size. The window is smaller, allowing access into tighter spaces. The color-match system is very convenient—you can see results right in front of you. If the match doesn’t look right on the colorproofing screen, you can easily go back and choose another alternate. By adjusting the paint formula before we mix, we’re not over-tinting and wasting product. The reduced time spent on color-matching has also improved our booth throughput, which has a great impact on the bottom line.”
Deano’s Collision & Mechanical Specialists Location: Elk River, MN (763) 441-4646 www.deanoscollision.com Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 23
In Business Since: 1984
Number of Locations: One DRP Programs: 13 Deano’s Collision & Mechanical Specialists praises Axalta’s Acquire™ Quantum EFX and Spies Hecker Permahyd Hi-TEC paint for their color-matching abilities.
Established in 1984 by Thomas and Cheryl Wistrom, Deano’s is proud to be celebrating its 35th year in business. What began as a husband-and-wife team has expanded to 23 employees, including their son Brandon, general manager, and daughter Angie, office manager. Throughout the years, continued growth and expansions have led the shop to its present-day location, which contains 24,000 square feet of production space. On average, Deano’s repairs 175 vehicles each month and attributes its success to repeat customers spanning multiple generations. Since Deano’s opened its doors, the shop has used paints from Axalta because “we have always prided ourselves on having the highest quality repairs,” Brandon explained. “In order to do so, it’s important to use cuttingedge products with the latest technologies. We’ve grown with Axalta and used different products from them along the way.” Deano’s converted to Cromax Pro waterborne paint in 2006 as soon as it hit the market as part of the shop’s ongoing efforts to preserve the environment. The shop also puts a large focus on using quality products to reduce waste and materials used. In 2017, Deano’s began using Spies Hecker Permahyd Hi-TEC because “it requires fewer products and has some very unique advantages as far as colored sealer and paint,” Tom said. “It’s an enhanced
version of Cromax Pro. We felt it was the superior paint line, and we want to ensure we’re always using the best products available.” Brandon shared, “Axalta has an extensive color library and colormatching tools. It puts us a step ahead of the competition. Our employees love Permahyd and the Acquire because it makes their jobs easier, plus they receive great support and training from Axalta. If we have a concern, Axalta is very good about taking care of it, so our technicians don’t feel like they’re on their own.” Transitioning from one Axalta paint line to another has been very easy, and though the biggest challenge was converting to waterborne, that transition was much easier than anticipated for Tom. He said, “Switching to waterborne sped up productivity, and Spies Hecker Permahyd Hi-TEC definitely reduces repair time since there are fewer steps involved. Any time you can repair cars faster, you’re going to be more profitable, and using less product also helps keep costs down. “Having Axalta as a paint partner is an excellent relationship, and I can’t imagine a day where we could go back to not using the Acquire. The technology is so superior, it just makes our job easier. Without a partner like Axalta, you don’t know what’s out there that you could be missing. They bring things to the table that help you succeed.”
Combined Production Space: 24,000 square feet
In addition to being an I-CAR Gold shop, Deano’s is OEM-certified by eight vehicle manufacturers, certified aluminum-repair-capable, and employs I-CAR & ASE-trained employees.
Tom and Cheryl Wistrom founded Deano’s Collision, and their children, Brandon and Angie, now also help ensure the high-quality repairs that customers have come to expect from the shop.
Axalta Coating Systems Company Contact: Heidi Stillwell email@example.com (610) 358-5353
Shop and Product Showcase | AUTOBODY NEWS JUNE 2019 11
BA SEOLINCHR A C CK D FOUNDATION FOR OEMM APPROVED COLLLISION REPAIRS Visit CAR-O-LINER-US.COM to Learn More and Request a D Demo. www.car-o-liner.com â€¢ 1-800-521-9696
12 JUNE 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS | Shop and Product Showcase
G&C Techs More Confident About Complicated Repairs With Car-O-Liner
by Autobody News Staff
As vehicles grow more complex, repairs become increasingly complicated. G&C Auto Body, an MSO in California, believes in keeping up with these challenges by investing in the industry’s best available equipment, such as Car-O-Liner’s BenchRack™ with full EVO™ system and specialty attachments. According to Patrick Crozat, COO of G&C Auto Body, “Our technicians are much more confident doing complicated repairs with the Car-O-Liner frame equipment, which increases productivity and profitability. It makes the entire structural alignment process faster and more accurate, giving guests a better finished product.” G&C Auto Body began using Car-O-Liner’s rack in 2017 because “it is a superior product with a strong corporate backing and great local service,” Crozat shared. “I deal with the purchasing of equipment and setting up training classes for all collision staff, and Car-O-Liner has always been prompt and responsive to whatever our needs are. Our long-term relationship with Oscar Loscano, our distributor from Precision for Collision, was especially beneficial. We’re saddened by his recent passing and will miss his expertise.” For a busy MSO with 254 employees repairing an average of 1,400+ vehicles each month, it’s also vital that new equipment be easy to train on and simple to implement into current processes. Regarding the addition of the Car-O-Liner BenchRack, Crozat noted, “It wasn’t difficult at all. It was welcomed with open arms from our technicians. We installed the equipment in all of our stores in three months and were able to train all of our techs within five months from the beginning of the installation. They love it. “Car-O-Liner’s frame machines are superior to the last product we were using. It takes longer to set up and take down, but the pulling and anchoring capabilities are way better as is the accuracy of the measuring. The ability to do upper body measurements is simple.” Available in four versatile lengths of 4200mm, 5000mm, 5500mm and 6300mm, Car-O-Liner’s BenchRack features a powerful 10-ton draw aligner that pulls from nearly any angle, 360 degrees around the vehi-
G&C Auto Body
Location: Sonoma County, Marin County, Mendocino County, Solano County, CA www.gandcautobody.com Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 254
In Business Since: 1972
Number of Locations: 14 DRP Programs: 20 Technicians at G&C Auto Body are much more confident about doing complicated repairs with Car-O-Liner’s BenchRack™.
cle, while the ergonomic design and removable ramps allow better access to the vehicle. The EVO universal system allows shops to perform effective holding and clamping without specific vehicle fixtures. The BenchRack meets requirements for multiple OEMs. G&C Auto Body was founded in 1972 by Gene Crozat and Leo Gassel, who decided to go into business after working together at a dealership body shop. Gassel sold his share of the business to Crozat when he retired a few years ago. Over the decades, the business has expanded to include 14 facilities in four counties in central California. Gene’s wife, Teri, and their children, Shawn, Josh, Jamie and Patrick, all hold key positions in the company. When asked what makes G&C Auto Body different from the competition, Crozat shared, “Our people … Every business has equipment, frame racks and paint booths. We just have better people and top-ofthe-line equipment for them to use. We have, in my opinion, a superior training and mentoring program in all departments to homegrow our people.” The Crozats are very involved in their communities, working with local food banks and volunteering with local charities. They established the Crozat Family Foundation through which they have donated 137 vehicles to community families in need. Environmental consciousness is also of the utmost importance at G&C Auto Body. Crozat explained, “We are very careful with making sure we handle
all of our waste as required by our government agencies. We use a third party, GMG Envirosafe, to audit our stores for compliance, and we constantly perform internal audits and coach and train our staff.” Regarding recent trends in the industry, Crozat said, “The economy has been very stable for nine years now, and we have seen consistent growth, usually in the double digits, every year. Business is great, and from what I have heard, the industry itself has been on a consistent growth pattern as well. “Consolidators will continue to grow, and repairs on vehicles will become increasingly complicated, requiring facilities to need to continue to train and invest in equipment. I think cost per claim severity will continue to rise, leading to more vehicles not being repairable after a collision. I don’t feel autonomous vehicles will really affect the industry for a very long time. OEMs are going to push their programs and certifications to facilities, but there’s no reason to worry—there will always be room for smaller operators. There are fewer shops than there used to be, but the population is growing exponentially every year with more and more young people beginning to drive.” What’s the key to G&C’s success? “The only thing constant in life is change. There will always be challenging customers, new vehicles that require different repairs, and shifts in insurers’ goals and focuses, but G&C Auto Body is always open to growing, changing and adapting to the current market.”
Combined Production Space: 200,000 square feet (combined)
G&C Auto Body is a 14-shop MSO founded by Leo Gassel and Gene Crozat, whose wife and five children now help run the business. (Pictured: Pat Crozat, COO)
G&C Auto Body’s industry professionals and their focus on training make the MSO stand out the most.
Car-O-Liner (800) 521-9696 car-o-liner-us.com
Shop and Product Showcase | AUTOBODY NEWS JUNE 2019 13
14 JUNE 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS | Shop and Product Showcase
CCC ONE® Products Are Helping Montana MSO Meet Business Objectives, Optimize Processes
by Autobody News Staff
More than 40 years ago, Matt McDonnell Sr. established Big Sky Crash Repair out of a four-car garage in Billings, MT. The business’s name later changed to Big Sky Collision. Fastforward to 2019, and the company has grown to be the largest familyowned collision repair facility in its area. Matt’s son, Matthew Jr., joined the team about a decade ago. After working alongside his older brothers for a few years, Matthew bought them out in 2015. By August of that year, the company had purchased a second location in Bozeman and soon after opened a third in Livingston. In addition to its extensive OEM certifications and keeping up with the latest developments in tools and equipment, McDonnell said part of the company’s success is due to a strong emphasis on leadership training. “We’ve noticed that very few shops in the country train,” he said. “They might bring in consultants, but they don’t set aside time for estimator training, CSR training or anything else along those lines.” As a result, he said Big Sky has focused on targeted training for all employees based on the business goals CCC has helped put into place. Big Sky has used CCC® Estimating software for decades. Last year, it incorporated more features in the CCC ONE® Total Repair Platform to help boost performance. McDonnell said customers now have expectations that are created from other buying experiences, such as Amazon and the doctor’s office, and CCC products are helping the business meet these expectations. The software includes CCC® Repair Workflow, a configurable business tool designed to streamline operations, and CCC® UpdatePlus, which has enabled the shop to automate appointment reminders for customers and send repair status updates via text or email. The shop also uses CCC® Lobby, which allows customers to electronically confirm their information when they walk into the shop. They can select their preferred method of communication rather than filling out paper forms and information they have already provided to the insurance company. “Our customers love the lobby check-in process, which is a tablet
Big Sky Collision (Network) Location: Billings, MT (406) 259-6328 www.bigskycol.com
Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 70
In Business Since: 1978
Number of Locations: Three DRP Programs: Two Buddy Neese uses the CCC Repair Facility app for technicians.
check-in form that guides them through critical questions,” said McDonnell. With goals in place to facilitate the MSO’s continued growth, Big Sky recently became involved in CCC® Elevate. The personalized CCC consulting service is designed to help collision repairers better understand and achieve their overall business objectives and help optimize their processes. This includes defining staff roles, demonstrating ways to improve the overall customer experience and creating personalized Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Many times, McDonnell said it can be challenging to optimize business practices when writing manual SOPs. CCC Checklists is helping Big Sky meet this challenge. The fully customizable tool enables collision repair shops to set the tasks they want completed, track quality control and document the quality of the repair. The management tool uses electronic SOPs and automatic logging. It also can store photos, notes and reports. “Using CCC’s Total Repair Platform, we are able to create quality control checklists that are incorporated into the repair plan,” said McDonnell. “There are critical processes (like photos or repair procedures) that need to be completed before the technician can move the vehicle.” For example, if they have a sectioning procedure, the checklist requires photos of the welds and sectioning area before the vehicle can be moved to the next stage in the repair process. Since using CCC® Checklists over the last year and a half, McDonnell has found that it has empowered his employees with the tools they need to provide excellent
service. Working with CCC, they have been able to define their unique operational processes and enable their locations to set high standards for the business. Checklists then holds employees accountable for their work to ultimately ensure each store is repairing vehicles correctly every time. “Checklists is a wonderful tool,” said McDonnell. “It makes sure that as you go through the process, you have a direction.” Big Sky created its own checklist of features to ensure technicians provide a “bullet-proof” repair. All of McDonnell’s technicians have downloaded Checklists on their phones in order to keep track of action items to address during each stage of the repair process. “It creates a chronological order of things that have to be done in order to move to the next step,” said McDonnell. “It really makes sense and I love it.” McDonnell said CCC’s extensive support and high-quality products are helping position the collision repair business for future growth. This is important, as the company plans to add additional locations over the next several years. “We have a winning attitude and culture at Big Sky. We have some really good people working for us with the right attitude and leadership qualities, and it’s contagious,” said McDonnell. “We’re never going to give up, so we never take defeat. Instead, we learn from what we did and get better.” He said CCC is helping him and his team meet their business goals, and they have been impressed with the attention given to their business. “It’s extraordinary,” he said. “We receive unbelievable customer service from CCC.”
Combined Production Space: 2 city blocks
Jake McClain uses the CCC Repair Facility app for technicians.
Big Sky Collision Center has focused on targeted training for all employees based on the business goals CCC has helped put into place.
CCC Information Services, Inc. (877) 208-6155 www.ccc-one.com
Shop and Product Showcase | AUTOBODY NEWS JUNE 2019 15
16 JUNE 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS | Shop and Product Showcase
Celette Products Enable Miami Collision Center to Provide Exceptional Service & Certified Repairs
by Autobody News Staff
Since Bill Ussery Motors opened its doors in Coral Gables near Miami, FL, more than 60 years ago, the focus of the family-owned MSO has remained the same: hiring talented people and providing customers with exceptional service and quality repairs. “It’s our guide to everything we do,” said Scott Woodard, general manager of Bill Ussery Motors Collision Center. “We have a ton of longterm employees, and the ownership is motivated with investing in the people. You can’t run such a large facility without having hard-working, dedicated employees.” Bob Brockway, chairman and CEO, attributes the customer philosophy to the company’s tradition. “We follow the golden rule: treat people fairly and honestly in the same way you would want to be treated, and you will have a customer for life,” he said. Woodard said the business’s tenured and professional staff guides clients through the insurance claim process, while certified technicians with more than 100 years of combined experience use the latest technologies to complete repairs to like-new condition. This includes using original Mercedes-Benz parts and factory-approved paint systems to return vehicles to their original pre-accident condition. “Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables, part of the Bill Ussery Motors Group, is the second-oldest Mercedes-Benz dealership in the United States,” said Woodard. “Over the years, we’ve delivered the ideal combination of exceptional Mercedes-Benz sales and service.” Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables and Mercedes-Benz of Cutler Bay continue to be recognized as two of the premier dealerships in the country. “We have many long-time customers,” said Woodard. “We are even selling to our original customers’ grandchildren.” As a result of their efforts, the business has been recognized by Mercedes-Benz USA as one of the “Best of the Best,” which includes the top 22 percent of its retail network. Bill Ussery Motors Collision Center, incorporated in 1990, opened its state-of-the-art, 30,000-square-foot
Bill Ussery Motors Collision Center Location: Miami, FL (305) 661-9666 www.billusserycc.com
Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 60
In Business Since: 1990
Number of Locations: Three Technician Jeremy Brock measures a vehicle with the NAJA measuring system, which the company purchased about a year ago. The company has found that it has been instrumental to measuring structural damage.
facility in Miami, FL, in 2008. In 2013, the shop evolved into the presentday Elite Certified Aluminum Structural Mercedes-Benz Repair Facility, a prestigious tier II certification awarded by Mercedes-Benz. The certification means that MercedesBenz-certified repair technicians perform aluminum structural repairs that strictly adhere to the MercedesBenz standards. It also gives the body shop access to purchase certain OEM parts as directed by the manufacturer. Currently, the business has grown into a multi-shop facility that serves customers for both dealerships and South Florida. Woodard has worked in the industry for more than 35 years at every level and been consistently looking for a better way to fix cars and be ahead of the competition. When he joined the collision center in 1999, he was familiar with conventional structural repair methods. That same year, he became familiar with the Celette brand and incorporated the use of the Celette bench in the shop. Since then, he has found that Celette collision repair products offer superior accuracy and efficiency. “For the last 20 years, we’ve put every car on a Celette bench that had any signs of structural deviation. It’s a very well-designed industrial piece of equipment that seems to last forever,” said Woodward. “Also, it gives us the ability to market what we do and most importantly deliver a quality and safe repair.” Bill Ussery Motors Collision Center currently utilizes two Sevenne benches and a Sevenne XL and
most recently purchased Celette’s NAJA 3D electronic measuring system in an effort to maintain its Elite certification. The measuring system uses a sliding measuring arm connected wirelessly through Bluetooth. It allows the collision center to measure vehicles with or without the mechanical parts installed. For more than 60 years, Celette has been evolving alongside OEM automobile makers, adhering to the industry’s changes in safety and materials and striving to develop repair options that are quick and easy. “NAJA 3D does an amazing job,” said Woodard. “It’s similar to triage; we are able to tell exactly where the vehicle is broken.” Technicians pre-measure vehicles with the Celette NAJA 3D to determine structural damage. As a secondary precaution, they also remeasure vehicles to ensure they are within the specs of the machine and accurately document the damage so it can be shared with the customer or insurance company. The collision center also saves the file so that if there is an issue with the vehicle in the future, there is documentation proving the condition of the car when it left the facility. Since using the NAJA 3D measuring system in combination with the Celette benches, Woodard has found that the quality standard it gives its customers is unmatched. “Every vehicle that leaves our shop is structurally straight,” said Woodard. “I’m a dedicated Celette body shop guy forever because of what I’ve seen those benches do. It works so well; it’s fool-proof.”
Combined Production Space: 42,000 square feet
Bill Ussery Motors Collision Center depends on Celette benches to ensure a quality, certified repair.
Scott Woodard stands near the Celette bench at Bill Ussery Motors Collision Center.
Celette 1-800-CELETTE (235-3883) www.celette.com
Shop and Product Showcase | AUTOBODY NEWS JUNE 2019 17
18 JUNE 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS | Shop and Product Showcase
75-Year-Old Automotive Group Switches to DeBeer Refinish Waterborne to Save Time & Wow Customers
by Autobody News Staff
Usually when a shop switches to a new paint system, there’s a brief introductory period during which its management and crew familiarize themselves with the product’s nuances, application processes and support. But in this case, team members at Rickenbaugh Automotive Group Collision Center in Denver, CO, hit the ground running when they seamlessly began using the DeBeer Refinish WaterBase 900+ Series last year, according to the collision center’s manager, Chris Hudson. Rickenbaugh Automotive Group hired Hudson two years ago to reduce the shop’s dependence on its DRPs. The results have been very positive. “We’ve doubled our volume in the last two years after cutting our DRPs from six to two,” he said. “A lot of things have changed since the John Eagle Collision court decision, which has confirmed the fact that shops are liable while the insurance companies are not. It’s more important now to perform repairs using only OE-required repair procedures without deviation. So we informed our DRPs last year that we are no longer interested in cutting costs, compromising our quality or risking our reputation to save a few bucks for them on a repair.” The shop is on track to do $10 million in business this year without cutting corners in any way, Hudson said. “To be completely honest, we have definitely turned away some business because we’re inflexible when it comes to negotiating with the insurance companies. We have been here for 75 years, and we want to be around for another 75 years, so accountability and transparency are a big part of that. We have proven that we can still excel with fewer DRPs by concentrating on being lean, working smarter and taking the high road with everything we do,” he said. Part of Hudson’s approach involves working with the finest tools, equipment and products in the collision repair industry, he said. This included converting the Rickenbaugh
Rickenbaugh Automotive Group Collision Center Location: Denver, CO (303) 571-4443 www.rickenbaugh.com
Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 48
In Business Since: 1944
Number of Locations: One DRP Programs: Two Rickenbaugh Automotive Center’s Manager Chris Hudson is using DeBeer Refinish WaterBase 900+ Series and loving every minute of it.
Automotive Group Collision Center to a DeBeer Refinish shop. “To stay relevant, we knew that we needed to work with the latest technology, and to be honest, our former vendor was behind the times. So we decided to look at all the brands and entered into an open bidding process,” he said. Hudson embarked on a 60-day journey and learned about all of the paint companies and their waterborne products as a result. “We tested and re-tested, visited a lot of shops and talked to their painters and managers. We just didn’t do demos; we actually painted cars in our facility, which turned out to be an invaluable experience,” he said. Now Hudson’s crew is extremely comfortable using the DeBeer Refinish WaterBase 900+ Series. “We are saving 30 percent when compared to our former paint, using fewer toners and creating an amazing finished product on the 300 vehicles we paint every month,” he said. “It’s like night and day when comparing the efficiency and productivity of our former product with DeBeer Refinish, and our paint technicians are delighted about producing 15 cars out of three booths every day.” One of the main benefits Hudson and his crew received came from tapping into the service and advice the shop got from its new jobber, he said. “Alan Squier from Specialized Product Supply in Denver has really stepped up and brought genuine
value to the entire process,” he said. “He gives us real numbers with real results, which is phenomenal. We are not just a number to them, and Specialized Product Supply proves it by visiting us frequently and making themselves available to us 24/7. They did their research and showed us that they knew the market here, and that’s why we can rely on them for anything we need. “One of the best things about the DeBeer Refinish waterborne system is that it delivers dead-on color matches. The color library is fantastic, and we’re adding to it all the time. With our old system, we had problems literally every day, but now those issues are gone. Using the spectrophotometer, we are able to match Tesla’s colors and even Mazda’s with those quad coats. Every carmaker has at least one tricky color to deal with, and this system’s database gives us several options to choose from. It’s turned what was a problematic part for our production into a no-brainer.” Every time a vehicle exits its booth painted with the DeBeer Refinish WaterBase 900+ Series, the decision to switch paint brands is reinforced. “The clears give us a glossy look with more depth and less shrinkage, which is a big difference,” Hudson said. “The cars come out of the bake looking spectacular, and they stay that way. When we see our customers’ faces every time they pick up their cars, it makes our day.”
Combined Production Space: 60,000 square feet
Detailer Leonardo Cardenas at Rickenbaugh Automotive Group Collision Center is delighted with the amazing finished product that DeBeer Refinish WaterBase 900+ Series provides.
Assistant Manager Katrina Wuensch appreciates the fact that the DeBeer Refinish waterborne system delivers dead-on color matches.
DeBeer Refinish, A Valspar® Automotive Brand 4440 Warrensville Center Rd. Warrensville Hts., OH 44128 (800) 321-0672 www.de-beer.com Facebook.com/OfficialDeBeerRefinish Instagram.com/OfficialDeBeerRefinish YouTube.com/OfficialDeBeerRefinish
Shop and Product Showcase | AUTOBODY NEWS JUNE 2019 19
20 JUNE 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS | Shop and Product Showcase
Family-Owned CARSTAR Fitchburg Loves Equalizer Cobra Glass Removal System for Ease of Use
by Autobody News Staff
CARSTAR Fitchburg Auto Body Repair Experts in Fitchburg, MA, is one of two CARSTAR franchise locations owned by the Blaisdell family, who also owns CARSTAR Atlantic in Lowell, MA. Performing safe and proper repairs per OE recommendations is a top priority for CARSTAR Fitchburg, and keeping up-to-date on the industry’s best technology and equipment helps the shop achieve that goal. CARSTAR Fitchburg has been using Equalizer products for more than a decade, so the shop invested in the Equalizer Cobra Glass Removal System as soon as it hit the market. Corey Blaisdell, who co-owns the shops with his brothers Justin and Randy, shared, “We bought the new Cobra tool as soon as it was available and had the unit with the serial number ‘2.’ We love Equalizer’s products for their ease of use, training and being way less likely to cause the damage to the glass or vehicle that some of the traditional glass cut-out tools would cause.” Introducing Equalizer’s Cobra was very easy for CARSTAR Fitchburg. Before implementing this product, the shop’s technicians were using cold knife techniques and pneumatic bladed tools. “As soon as we brought the tool in and showed the techs once, they were hooked, and we all loved it because we immediately saw a larger number of technicians capable of doing glass work without issue or damage,” Blaisdell stated. “The employees love it because it makes glass removal less of a burden and easier for everyone.” Although set-up takes a bit longer with the Cobra than a cold pull knife or pneumatic blade might for a seasoned glass tech, the benefits far outweigh the set-up time. Blaisdell listed its positive impacts on the shop: “Not breaking windshields and back glasses or causing damage to these cars during the removal process is a big gain overall. We’ve also benefited from the Equalizer Cobra Glass Removal System due to less downtime spent waiting for parts, more people being
CARSTAR Collision Centers, Inc. Location: Fitchburg, MA (978) 342-3428 www.carstarcollision.com Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 15
In Business Since: 1979
Number of Locations: Two CARSTAR Fitchburg praises the Equalizer Cobra Glass Removal System for its ease of use and easy training process that prevents damage during the repair process.
capable of doing the work correctly and a much easier training process to get a tech up and running with this tool. The ability to train all our techs with this tool, even the newer ones to the industry, without having them cause damage is one of the biggest gains this product provides.” The Blaisdell brothers are second-generation shop owners. Their father, Gary, began repairing vehicles more than 40 years ago for his brother’s used car lot after attending a local technical high school. Before long, he and his wife, Angel, rented a two-bay garage with a wood stove and payphone. While Angel helped with the bookkeeping and kept the family life running smoothly, Gary worked his way towards bigger and better facilities. In 1989, Gary invested in his first CARSTAR franchise when a friend presented “a vision he could feel good about,” Blaisdell recalled. “With the successes and a committed staff, Gary began to build what we have today. With guidance from our parents, my two brothers and I are now leading the family business with 46 employees between the two locations.” Having acquired I-CAR Gold Class status, ASE certification and Honda/Acura ProFirst designation, CARSTAR Fitchburg is dedicated to providing customers with the best possible experience. Blaisdell said, “Our commitment to customer service and making sure our customers, vendors, insurance partners and employees are happy with the work we provide has contributed largely to our successes.
We invest in the best and newest equipment and always keep up with repair techniques the way the OE manufacturer recommends for proper and safe repairs every time, plus we provide a warranty like no other.” Blaisdell expects the products he invests in to come with comparable customer service. In regards to his experiences with Equalizer’s customer service department, he noted, “We had our Cobra sent in for warranty repair after about a year of use. They sent me a loaner tool for the time they had mine, communicated effectively throughout the process and got the tool back to me in a timely manner. When we had a different problem six months later with the charging port, Equalizer replaced the whole unit for us. From my experience, they offer great customer service with no room for complaints.” As a family-owned operation, CARSTAR Fitchburg also knows it has a stake in the planet’s future, which is why it invests in equipment that will preserve the environment for future generations. Blaisdell shared, “Always keeping up with the newest technology and innovations in the industry keeps us working cleaner and healthier for our employees and the environment. Air recyclers and vacuum systems come to mind; however, our approach to the method of repair, such as repairing more bumpers, and investment in equipment like the Equalizer Cobra Glass tool allows us to reuse more original product, rather than put it in a landfill.”
Combined Production Space: 20,000 square feet
CARSTAR Fitchburg Collision Center in Fitchburg, MA, is one of two CARSTAR franchise locations owned by brothers Corey, Justin and Randy Blaisdell.
Boasting I-CAR Gold Class, ASE certification and Honda/Acura ProFirst designation, CARSTAR Fitchburg is dedicated to providing customers with the best possible repair according to OE specifications.
Equalizer Company Contact: Monique Stearns (800) 334-1334 www.equalizer.com
Shop and Product Showcase | AUTOBODY NEWS JUNE 2019 21
22 JUNE 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS | Shop and Product Showcase
NY Body Shop Says Lusid Technologies’ Products Provide Unbelievable Quality at an Affordable Price
by Autobody News Staff
Repairing vehicles to the highest of standards is an important priority for James Caridi, owner of Roland’s Auto Body. The second-generation body shop owner in White Plains, NY, said that part of providing first-class service is using reliable products such as those he purchases from Lusid Technologies. Caridi said the state-of-the-art automotive coatings they manufacture are second to none. “I have been very impressed with their products,” said Caridi. “The quality is unbelievable, there is no dieback and my employees love it.” Caridi has worked in the industry since he was 14 years old and spent much of his time helping at his brother’s body shop. He always looked up to his brother, Joseph Caridi, and learned how to run a successful collision repair business from him. Caridi opened his first body shop in 1991 when he was 19 years old—Supreme Collision in Yonkers, NY. A decade later, he became a partner at Roland’s Auto Body, established in the 1940s, in White Plains. Eventually, he bought out his partner in 2013 and has run the collision repair facility ever since. “We try to take care of everyone like they are family,” said Caridi. “I grew up around this neighborhood and everyone knows me. I try to do the best for everybody that I can.” Today, Roland’s prides itself on always being honest, loyal and friendly to customers while providing exceptional workmanship. The body shop consistently receives high praise from its customers. An essential aspect of producing excellent work is delivering a car with a high-quality paint job. Customers often tell Caridi that the business does an outstanding job on their body work and the paint jobs look like new. Roland’s used another brand of paint for many years. After learning about Lusid Technologies’ products from their jobber, Bob’s Car Color, Caridi decided to make the switch in 2013. Bob’s Car Color was es-
Roland’s Auto Body
Location: White Plains, NY (914) 948-2826 Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 10
In Business Since: 1940s
Number of Locations: One DRP Programs: Two James Caridi, owner of Roland’s Auto Body, depends on Lusid Technologies’ products for a reliable and high-quality paint job.
tablished in 1947 in the Bronx, NY. “We had never changed our paint line, but when Rob Jr. from Bob’s Car Color introduced us to Lusid Technologies’ products, we found they were really good and well-priced,” said Caridi. Bob’s Car Color has provided products to Roland’s Auto Body for nearly 30 years. Rob Jr.’s grandfather started the auto supply business in 1947. Located in Poughkeepsie, NY, the company sells paint and supplies to body shops in the surrounding area. Since he first heard about Lusid Technologies’ products in 2011, Rob Jr. said he has highly recommended them to the shops he supplies. He said the paint line is comparable to some of the more expensive lines available on the market today, which equates to significant cost savings on their materials bill. “The benefit to the shops is that they can increase their bottom line and achieve the same results as using other well-known brands,” said Rob. “This offers shops a dependable product at a competitive price.” Caridi uses the company’s GenRock / GenMax brand, a complete line of automotive primers, primer surfacers, clears and additives. Since using GenRock / GenMax, Caridi has found the products can be applied on nearly every automotive refinish basecoat. This includes Northstar™ GenRock and Gen20 finishes. In addition to using the primers and primer surfacers, Caridi is a big fan of the clears. He said they are
easy to apply and polish and offer long-lasting gloss as well as excellent drying. The company offers GenMax 5010 for rapid curing and the GenMax 4010 for a fine overall finish. Rob said the products are widely known for providing excellent color match and performance. Caridi agrees. He said the GenRock line is user-friendly and easy to work with. This gives him and his employees the assurance that they will have excellent coverage on every job. In addition to GenRock, Lusid Technologies manufactures Northstar fleet and industrial products out of their production plant in Salt Lake City, UT. The company’s products are custom-manufactured and can be tailored for special applications. They are also available in multiple VOC levels in order to comply with air pollution requirements. Caridi said that John Panto, the Lusid Technologies technical representative, is very responsive to their shop’s needs. “All of our questions and issues are resolved quickly and accurately,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier with Lusid Technologies, their people and their products.” The employees from Lusid Technologies said they are particularly proud to be associated with Roland’s Auto Body. “Working with a solid family-oriented business that takes care of its customers fits perfectly with the way that we ourselves like to do business,” they added.
Combined Production Space: 10,000 square feet
Roland’s Auto Body prides itself on always being honest, loyal and friendly to customers while providing exceptional workmanship.
Since using Lusid Technologies’ GenRock / GenMax brand, Caridi has found the products can be applied on nearly every automotive refinish basecoat.
Lusid Technologies (801) 966-5300 www.lusid.biz
Shop and Product Showcase | AUTOBODY NEWS JUNE 2019 23
24 JUNE 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS | Shop and Product Showcase
The Whole Family Loves the Matrix Wand at Carrillo & Sons
by Autobody News Staff
When customers get their cars repaired at Carrillo & Sons Collision Center in San Diego, CA, they work with the entire family, including owner/founder Maria Carrillo and her three sons: production manager Tony, Jr., service advisor Daniel, and parts manager David. Some days, the shop’s clients also get to meet the Carrillo family’s canine children: bulldogs named Louie V, Oliver, Mojo and Tank, and a Pomeranian named Sophia. The Carrillos, obviously dog lovers, feature their pooches on their website, social media and all advertising with a memorable slogan: “Wrinkles are cute on dogs, but not on your car.” By making all the right moves, this shop has excelled for 38 years and is still going strong. “We are a VQ shop for Verifacts and members of SCRS, CIC, WIN and NABC,” Maria Carrillo said. “Being aligned with these organizations has truly helped us stay on top of all the current challenges that we face as a small family-owned business.” One wrinkle at Carrillo & Sons Collision Center disappeared late last year when they acquired a Matrix Wand, the 3D measuring blueprinting and collision repair device, at the SEMA Show in 2018. Maria said she had wanted a Matrix Wand for the past five years, so finally buying one late last year was a significant move. “We knew we were ready, so we met with Jan Srack at SEMA, and it was an easy decision,” she said. “We were lucky to get a special red one because sometimes Matrix custom-paints a wand, and in this case, it represented the first one they were selling at the show. Red is my favorite color, so we’re happy to tell people that it’s our very own special edition.” Tony, Jr. uses the Matrix Wand on 70 percent of the 100–110 vehicles they fix monthly. “Before we had the Wand, we were guessing the severity of the damage, and now we’re able to quickly identify hidden damage and improve our work flow,” he said. “In the past, we had to tear down many of the cars to find hidden damage,
Carrillo & Sons Collision Center Location: San Diego, CA (619) 287-7200 www.carrillonsons.com Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 17
In Business Since: 1981
Number of Locations: One
Combined Production Space: 15,000 square feet The crew at Carrillos & Sons Collision Center consists of (l to r) Daniel Carrillo, Tony Carrillo Jr., Ken Thayer, Maria Carrillo and David Carrillo with their beloved dogs.
which took too much time and tied up a lot of floor space in this 15,000square-foot facility.” Now within just minutes, almost every vehicle can be measured with the Matrix Wand to identify hidden damage that Carrillo & Sons couldn’t find before. “We’re writing very accurate estimates the very first time in order to eliminate supplements,” Tony, Jr. said. “We blueprint the car, order the parts and then verify the repair by using the Mitchell Reference Database, which is integrated into the Matrix Repair Analysis Software. It helps our cycle time because we are able to fast-track structural analysis, starting the repair process right away and fixing the car seamlessly by using the Matrix Wand.” The Matrix Wand has also enabled the Carrillos to provide the insurance companies and their customers precise documentation, Tony, Jr. said. “This is so valuable because in the past, we didn’t have the documentation to justify our repair times until we got it on the rack,” he said. “We had to use a tram gauge or do a visual inspection, and usually the insurance company would tell us that they would pay us when we had a measurement. In addition, our alignments were always problematic because it was kind of a guessing game. In some cases, the customer thought they were going to pick up their vehicle but we had to tell them we needed another 3–4
days to get the parts and do the alignment, but no more.” To train Tony, Jr. on how to effectively operate the Matrix Wand, the company sent trainer Alan Eaton to San Diego to work with him for one full day. “We went through every type of repair we might encounter, including suspension, under-carriage damage, actual frame damage, rear and front uni-body damage, and side impact damage. We used the wand to make measurements on several cars with Alan, and it was an extremely helpful experience,” he said. For several months, Tony, Jr. was the only person trained on the device, but now he’s got another member of the crew onboard with the shop’s Matrix Wand. “My assistant, Raul Sebastian, started learning all of the ins and outs about a month ago. He is now in charge of all our pre- and post-scans as well as all measurements. It’s like anything else—the more and more you work with the Matrix Wand, the better you get at it,” he said. Tony, Jr. can already see that his Matrix Wand is going to cover his initial investment within 18 months, he said. “We’re able to streamline our repairs, and we don’t need to speculate anymore,” he said. “It gives us the exact information that we need to fix these cars right and get paid for it. How many pieces of equipment can pay for itself that quickly? To be honest, I can’t think of any.”
Production assistant Raul Sebastian performs all of the shop’s pre-scans, post-scans and measurements with the Matrix Wand.
Carrillos uses their Matrix Wand on 70 percent of the 100–110 vehicles they fix monthly and can already see that the device will cover their initial investment within only 18 months.
Matrix Electronic Measuring, Inc. (800) 424-8023 Matrix@thematrixwand.com www.matrixwand.com
Shop and Product Showcase | AUTOBODY NEWS JUNE 2019 25
26 JUNE 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS | Shop and Product Showcase
Cervini’s Auto Designs Thrives in High-Production Climate With PPG Waterborne Technology
by Autobody News Staff
General Manager Jim Frie at Cervini’s Auto Designs in Vineland, NJ, oversees a fast turnaround and demands accuracy. That’s why he is so enamored with PPG’s ENVIROBASE® High Performance waterborne basecoat system and its color matching capabilities. “When a customer buys a product from us, we offer them the option of pre-painting it for them, so that they can install it right out of the box,” Frie said. “It’s added a whole new level of service and provides convenience for our customers who want all three: quality, delivery and price.” The founder and owner of Cervini’s Auto Designs is Danny Cervini, who owned a body shop with his brother for many years, Frie said. “Danny has always been a big fan of the Mustang Mach 1 and very connected to the Mustang community. He owns a 1988 Mustang GT convertible. One day, Danny thought that a 1971 hood from a Mach 1 would look really good on his ‘88, so he decided to cut up a hood, fabricate it and graft it onto the vehicle. He took it to a few different swap meets and car shows where people started asking him, ‘Where did you get that?’ and he told them ‘I made it’, and that’s where it all began.” Cervini’s Auto Designs was founded in 1991 by Danny Cervini, who took the company from three employees in a small facility to an industry leader that is well-known for high-quality styled hoods and body components. In 2006, Cervini’s Auto Designs reinvented itself to become a true turnkey Mustang and Ford F150 Conversion company. Today the company makes approximately 3,000 products and sells them online. They manufacture hoods, bumpers, side and rare scoops, upper and lower grilles, side exhaust packages, rear spoilers, diffusers and related parts for Camaros, Fords, Dodges, Challengers and GMC muscle cars and now dabbles in the imports market as well. Three main reasons for the company’s success are fast delivery, convenience and accuracy, Frie said. “People are now in that Amazon mentality where they want it
Cervini’s Auto Designs Location: Vineland, NJ (800) 488-6057 www.cervinis.com
Company At A Glance...
Type: Collision Aftermarket Facility Employees: 50
In Business Since: 1991
Number of Locations: One
Cervini’s recently dropped their former paint vendor of 12 years to begin spraying PPG’s Envirobase High Performance, and is thrilled with the results.
now, so everything we do has to be there within 2–3 days max, including the paint. If we can pre-paint that hood or bumper for the customer, all they have to do is install it without having to take it to a body shop to be painted. To do the job right, we know that our color accuracy has to be dead-on because we can’t obviously look at the vehicle prior to painting the part. We take a lot of pride in being able to colormatch our products, and our policy here is to get the paint right every time. We’re known for matching factory colors because we make it a priority here.” It takes a lot of research and development to find a precise match. “We have great relationships with all of the car companies, so we know what colors the new 2020 Mustangs will be painted in before they come out. We accumulate a lot of data to create a master formula that we can rely on. It may take a day or 2-3 weeks, depending on how many spray outs we have to do and what adjustments we need to make. After we have the master formula, the PPG PAINTMANAGER® software will follow that exact same formula with each color. Their software is ideal for us, because it allows us to mix paint perfectly every time.” Two months ago, Cervini’s dropped their former paint vendor of 12 years and began spraying PPG’s Envirobase High Performance waterborne basecoat system. “Being environmentally friendly is a
big deal here in New Jersey because we have some of the toughest VOC emissions laws in the country,” Frie said. “The use of waterborne isn’t mandated here, but being ahead of the curve was where we wanted to be, and that’s why we’re very happy with PPG’s waterborne paint.” There are many significant advantages for Cervini’s switch to PPG’s Envirobase waterborne product, Frie said. “We are being more efficient, getting great color matches and creating a better product as well. It has allowed us to fit in almost another full cycle every day, which means that we’ve been able to increase our overall productivity by 50 percent, which is substantial.” With solid training and an awesome relationship with its local jobber, Cervini’s gets the whole package from PPG. “PPG came here and did a phenomenal job training our guys,” he said. “They were here in our shop, and our two painters were up and running quickly. Our jobber is Bill Flannery Automotive in Bensalem, PA, and their excellent knowledge and customer service is one of the reasons why we chose PPG.” Within the next five years, Cervini’s wants to expand into other markets, including more muscle cars and off-road vehicles made between 2020 and 2024. PPG is a new member of the crew at Cervini’s Auto Designs, so the future looks bright and the colors are right.
Combined Production Space: 56,000 square feet
With PPG Envirobase High Performance waterborne basecoat system, Cervini’s is getting great color matches and creating a better product while fitting in almost another full cycle every day.
Cervini’s is being more efficient and getting dead-on color matches with PPG’s Envirobase waterborne paint system. PPG Cathy Rusnak (440) 572-2800 Rusnak@ppg.com www.ppgrefinish.com
Shop and Product Showcase | AUTOBODY NEWS JUNE 2019 27
28 JUNE 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS | Shop and Product Showcase
After False Conviction, Veteran Painter Wows New Boss with his SATA guns
by Autobody News Staff
A random event can change our lives in a millisecond. If you don’t believe it, just ask Steve Jones, a veteran painter whose work has been praised ever since he entered the collision repair industry back in 1995. Well-known for his ability to create a fantastic finished product every time by using his beloved SATA spray guns, Jones was making big bucks and living the good life until Oct. 2, 2014. Jones’ nightmare began when the mailman came to his door with a package that he signed for. Before he could even open the small box, the local police stormed into his house and accused him of drug trafficking. “The package contained a pair of shoes with four bags of MDMA inside (also known as ecstasy),” Jones said. “The return address on the package was from somewhere in Amsterdam and was fake. I went into shock as I was arrested and taken to jail.” Jones discovered this is a common occurrence. Many other people are victimized by this scam the same way, he said. “Drug traffickers find someone’s name and address and then send them the drugs, hoping that they’re not home when the package is delivered. Then they grab it without assuming any of the risks,” he said. After sitting in a jail cell at the Hall County Jail in Gainesville, GA, for 45 days, Jones was able to post bail to the tune of $50,000. That’s when everything went sideways. “I hired a highly regarded attorney who fumbled my case from beginning to end,” he said. “They harassed my family and said if someone didn’t take responsibility for it, they would all end up in jail. After a trial, I was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in prison followed by 20 years on probation. I was taken into custody immediately and spent the next 10 months in Ware State Prison in Waycross, GA.” After hiring a new lawyer, Jones went through the appeal process while sitting in prison. “When we finally got back in front of the same judge, she recog-
Gerber Collision & Glass Location: Duluth, GA (770) 654-5281 www.gerbercollision.com Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 12
In Business Since: 2001
Number of Locations: 400+
Combined Production Space: 15,000 square feet
Steve Jones is heralded for his painting skills and an eye for detail while always using his beloved SATA spray guns.
nized that it was an improper prosecution and that the cops and the prosecutor screwed up big-time,” he said. “I think that once they charged me, they were going to do anything they could to convict me, whether I was guilty or not. They were devious and my lawyer was just plain incompetent, so it was a toxic combination for me.” The judge took two months to make her decision while Jones sat in his cell, but in August 2018, he was released from prison. “I started looking for a job one week after I got out,” Jones said. “It took me a while to acclimate to the real world because when you’re in there, you’re more like a caged animal than a human being.” With top references and a solid work record, Jones landed a job at Gerber Collision & Glass after 10 days of asking around. Once hired, he hit the ground running. He put his 26 SATA guns right to work, and his employers were quickly blown away by his volume and efficiency. “I’m the only painter here, but almost immediately, I was logging 375 hours every two weeks while painting 40 vehicles. I had been away from my SATA guns for a long time, but the minute I picked them up, it was like riding a bike. When I joined the crew, their profit margin was roughly 48 percent, but it’s now al-
most 68 percent, and my manager is obviously pleased,” he said. Additionally, his wife, Cindy, was hired as his prepper. “She wants me to succeed and has pride in her work,” he said. “We have minimized comebacks and rarely have to re-paint anything. It’s a great relationship both personally and professionally, and we also get to spend more time with each other after being apart for so long.” One of the first things Jones did after being released was purchase two new SATA guns. “I bought two of their new SATAjet X 5500 guns, one RP and one HVLP,” he said. “They provide exceptional coverage and use less material, plus I can work faster to hit my numbers. “I can never get that lost time back, but I’m fairly confident that I will be compensated for the mistakes that were made. I’ve learned that 20 percent of all the people in our prisons right now were wrongly convicted, and only 7 percent of those get appeals. I’m making good money now, and I’d like to thank everyone who supported me through this ordeal, including my wife, my family and even the people at SATA, especially DanAm’s director of sales and marketing, Tony Larimer. You truly find out who your friends are when you have to go through something like this.”
Jones’s wife Cindy is his prepper at Gerber Collision & Glass in Duluth, GA.
Jones owns 26 SATA guns and is always looking to add to his collection.
Dan-Am Company One Sata Drive P.O. Box 46 Spring Valley, MN 55973 (800) 633-7282 www.sata.com
Shop and Product Showcase | AUTOBODY NEWS JUNE 2019 29
30 JUNE 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS | Shop and Product Showcase
Head Painter at Thriving MSO Loves Ultra7000® for All the Right Reasons
by Autobody News Staff
By using the Ultra7000 Automotive Refinish System, Schaefer Autobody Centers, located in the St. Louis, MO, area, is saving time and getting superior coverage and color matches. Additionally, the MSO is loving the extra support from Sherwin-Williams® Automotive Finishes. Schaefer Autobody Centers owner/president Scott Schaefer, 39, is a second-generation operator who works every day to improve his business, which is why he switched to the Ultra7000 solvent system a decade ago. His company repairs roughly 1,200 cars out of its 10 locations every month and steadfastly adheres to its motto, “Turn whoops into wow right now!” Schaefer credits much of his company’s growth and success to his father, Steve. “My dad was a mechanic by trade and worked for a Cadillac dealership until he decided to go out on his own,” Schaefer said. “Eventually, he bought a body shop and ran both businesses until 1999 when he decided to shed the mechanical shop to concentrate 100 percent on the autobody side. He said it was easier for him to build a faithful customer base in collision repair, so that’s why he pursued it. We haven’t looked back since.” By providing a wide range of services, including fleet work, glass repair, PDR and towing, Schaefer is a one-stop company that wants to do it all. Everyone in Missouri is familiar with the shop’s signature “Never Happened” approach to doing business, a slogan it has been using in all of its advertising since 2000, Schaefer said. “We take care of every aspect of the collision repair process from start to finish, and all the customer has to do is give us their keys. We coordinate everything, including car rental, estimate and interaction with the insurance company and enable them to check the status on our Online Collision Tracker to see our progress. The next time the customer hears from us, it’s to tell them that their car is ready to pick up. We make it look like it never happened, and it’s become something we’re known for.”
Schaefer Autobody Centers Location: St. Louis, MO (636) 305-8288 www.schaeferautobody.com
Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 205
In Business Since: 1985
Number of Locations: 10 DRP Programs: 12 Schaefer Autobody’s Head Painter Jahn Wimpee has been spraying Ultra7000 solvent system by Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes for 10 years with amazing results.
The shop is also well-known for the quality of its paint work, as illustrated by the company’s five-star reviews. When it comes to being a better company, Schaefer is not afraid to pursue goals such as OE certifications and top training, as well as the use of cutting-edge tools and equipment. All of his shops have earned ICAR Gold status; one of its locations is a Tesla repair center, and another is adept at performing aluminum repairs on Ford F-150s. For the past 15 years, Schaefer has been spraying Ultra7000 by Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes after using two to three other brands for several years. Head painter Jahn Wimpee has been spraying the Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes refinish system for a decade and values the product on many levels. “First off, it saves us a ton of time, especially when curing the vehicles,” Wimpee said. “With other brands I’ve used in the past, the drying times were around 45 minutes, but with Ultra7000, we’ve cut that in half. In addition, when we spray wet on wet, it always stays glossy, unlike other brands that will pinch back.” With superior coverage, Wimpee is applying significantly less basecoat on every job, particularly when applying whites, he said. “It’s so noticeable and really makes a difference. We’re able to cut our base application time down significantly on most of the vehicles we paint when compared to anything else out there. The two main factors that stand out to me with
Ultra7000 are its speed and gloss retention,” he said. When color-matching, Schaefer’s paint crew is able to access the enormous chip deck provided by Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes, which is crucial for any MSO. “We use their PROSPECTOR® Color Reference System, and it saves us a lot of time,” Wimpee said. “Our guys can see the actual color that they will be spraying before they spray it, and they have more than 8,500 sprayed chips that can be used for matching solid and metallic colors. Everything is indexed, and in most cases, we have multiple chips of each color that all of our locations can refer to. Whenever I make a custom color formula, all of our painters can see it through the network, which really helps us.” Company support is also crucial, which is why Schaefer loves the no-hassle approach he receives from Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes, he said. “We have one sales person and one person for technical support, which makes it so much easier,” he said. “They often meet with our painters and visit all of our locations every month. They review our performance and track our usage, so that we never order too much product, and they’re willing to answer all of our questions promptly.” By using Ultra7000, Schaefer Autobody Centers is able to provide a superior finished product to its customers and adhere to its “Never Happened” promise at all 10 of its locations.
Combined Production Space: 191,035 square feet
Scott Schaefer is the forwardthinking, second-generation owner/president of the 10-location Schaefer Autobody Centers.
Wimpee and the entire painting crew at Schaefer Autobody Centers use the Sherwin-Williams Ultra7000® PROSPECTOR Color Reference System for dead-on color matches. Sherwin-Williams® Automotive Finishes 4440 Warrensville Center Rd. Warrensville Hts., OH 44124 (800) 798-5872 www.sherwin-automotive.com
Facebook.com/sherwin-williamsautomotivefinishes Youtube.com/SWAFC Instagram.com/swrefinish LinkedIn.com/Sherwin-WilliamsAutomotiveFinishes
Shop and Product Showcase | AUTOBODY NEWS JUNE 2019 31
32 JUNE 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS | Shop and Product Showcase
Fix Auto Chicago Stays Modern With Innovative Equipment From Spanesi Americas
by Autobody News Staff
To stay competitive in their market, Fix Auto Chicago’s general manager, Peter Reszczynski, knows it’s imperative to stay up-to-date with the most innovative and modern equipment available. That’s why his shop invested in the 14500A Spanesi Spot Welder, Touch Electronic Measuring System, and Spanesi Q5.2 Mig Welder from Spanesi Americas. He shared, “As cars became more sophisticated and with the increasing need to invest in OE certifications, we saw a need to update and modernize our tools and equipment.” Fix Auto Chicago is a busy 9,000square-foot location in Chicago, IL, that employs 20 automotive repair industry professionals who repair an average of 100 vehicles each month, performing both collision and mechanical repairs. In addition to participating in five DRP programs, the shop has acquired OEM certifications from Honda, Nissan, Infinity, KIA, Hyundai and FCA. According to Reszczynski, “It was very important to us that Spanesi was recognized and approved by the car brands we were interested in certifying with. Currently, we’re using Spanesi’s 14500A spot welder, measuring system and Q5.2 MIG welder, and we also plan to purchase two of their frame racks to replace our aging structural equipment as well as a suite of tools for a Ford aluminum certification we’re working towards.” Transitioning from their old tools to the innovative equipment manufactured by Spanesi was simple for Fix Auto Chicago. The company also supports the shop with superior customer service and training. “With direct personal assistance from Tim Morgan, installing and implementing our Spanesi equipment was a seamless transition, and whenever we need assistance, Spanesi is always there. For instance, when our technician damaged one of the arms on the spot welder, Spanesi immediately delivered a replacement the following day. When we hire new techs, Spanesi trainers are available to assist us with onboarding and training.” Technicians at Fix Auto Chicago love the tools from Spanesi Americas. Reszczynski said, “Spanesi equipment is intuitively designed with the technician in mind. Techs adapt to it quickly and truly like using
Fix Auto Chicago
Location: Chicago, IL 773-342-6363 www.fixautousa.com/Chicago Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 20
In Business Since: 1984 Fix Auto Chicago uses the 14500A Spanesi Spot Welder, Touch Electronic Measuring System, and Spanesi Q5.2 MIG welder from Spanesi Americas and plans to invest in more equipment from Spanesi Americas in the near future. (Pictured: Fernando Barraza, Sr. Repair Planning Technician & Quentin Hacker, Jr. Repair Planning Technician)
Spanesi equipment.” Reszczynski and his partner, Andrew Pulaski, founded their shop in 1984, originally named Import Auto Inc. Both men were born in Poland, where they learned to repair cars according to European standards. Beginning by renting two stalls in a local body shop, Reszczynski and Pulaski were able to move into a 5,500-square-foot shop before long, attracting customers through Reszczynski’s sales efforts and maintaining them by delivering high-quality repairs. In 2014, Reszczynski and Pulaski decided to join Fix Auto after analyzing the marketplace and determining their independent shop would be safer under the franchise. They also felt it would be easier to deal with insurers and technological advances as part of a larger organization. Reszczynski pointed out, “Let’s talk about the future of the industry; collision repair is an $8 billion industry, and change is accelerating geometrically. If you are a shop owner, do not get left behind. “The severity of claims is rising while the frequency is decreasing. Meanwhile, repairability of cars has grown in difficulty with the accelerated implementation of ADAS in newer vehicles and virtually connected cars.” Spanesi’s Touch Electronic Measuring System provides a quick, easy diagnostic evaluation of damaged vehicles that is simple to understand and to print out for the shop’s repair file. The system’s database contains all main points of chassis and suspension parts and can be used with any lift, straightening bench or rack.
In addition to offering shops the ability to create a personalized database, the Touch measures all disassembled and assembled parts in order to diagnose every component of the vehicle. Spanesi spot welders are equipped with LCD control panels with a reduced number of buttons and simple images to aid user welder operation, and setup is easy. The machine’s suspension system helps support the weight of the gun, making it even easier to use for extended periods of time. Spanesi’s Q5.2 boasts a three-torch synergic inverter MIG/MAG welder, providing the capability of welding steel, silicon bronze and aluminum in the same machine. The machine is also configured to automatically recognize which torch is being used and select the correct preset welding parameters for the technician. Ensuring OE-required procedures and dealing with the increasing challenges presented by advancing technology may be difficult, but Fix Auto Chicago is rising to the challenge with the help of Spanesi equipment. Reszczynski praised the products, saying, “Spanesi’s 14500A Spot Welder and the Spanesi Q5.2 MIG Welder are quicker and more reliable than other welders available on the market. The Touch measuring system allows efficient structural measuring during our blueprinting and repair process. Overall, Spanesi equipment is much more technologically advanced than our previous equipment, and that gives us better control of the repair process, ensuring the safe, high-quality repair that our customers expect and deserve.”
Number of Locations: One DRP Programs: Five
Combined Production Space: 9,000 square feet
General Manager Peter Reszczynski praises Spanesi equipment for being quick to use and reliable on sophisticated repairs. (Pictured: Fernando Barraza, Repair Planning Technician)
Reszczynski shared, “Spanesi equipment is intuitively designed with the technician in mind.” (Pictured: Mark Pituch, Structural Technician
Spanesi Americas Timothy W. Morgan (COO/Managing Director) (224)-SPANESI (224-772-6374) www.spanesi.com
Shop and Product Showcase | AUTOBODY NEWS JUNE 2019 33
34 JUNE 2019 AUTOBODY NEWS | Shop and Product Showcase
Mike’s Auto Body Happily Inherits USI Booth at New Location
by Autobody News Staff
When Mike’s Auto Body, a Northern California MSO with 16 locations, purchased an existing shop in Alameda, they were delighted. When they discovered that the shop was already using a USI Chronotech spray booth, they were even more excited. Mikes’ Auto Body founder Mike Rose and his family, who have been repairing damaged vehicles since 1972, have built a company that is well-known for being an outstanding business partner in every city it serves. Mike’s Auto Body acquired what was formerly known as Alameda Classic Collision Center, a restoration/collision shop that was opened in 2007 by CJ Miller, earlier this year. Taking over a body shop and instituting their company culture is not always an easy task, but Mike’s Auto Body has been doing exactly that for many years. By stressing quality and retaining many of the existing employees at each location, the company has succeeded with every acquisition. Having the right tools and equipment is critical to the process, which is why the shop’s manager, Lester Branson, values the shop’s Chronotech paint booth, manufactured by USI North America. “We’ve been pleasantly surprised by how this booth performs and what it has enabled us to achieve,” he said. “Its design is pretty amazing, and the technology is second-to-none. When our painter starts the job, he knows the spray time and the curing time exactly, and that has really helped our production and the shop’s flow. We came in here, started using the booth immediately and haven’t stopped since. We have had zero comebacks and have been able to adhere to our company motto, ‘Where Quality Counts!’” With 13 employees operating out of a 13,000-square-foot facility, Mike’s Auto Body in Alameda is repairing approximately 100 vehicles monthly as Branson learns the area and the market. “We anticipate growing every month, so we need to be able to accommodate the increased volume,”
Mike’s Auto Body
Location: Concord, CA (925) 689-1739 www.mikesautobody.com Company At A Glance... Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 200+ In Business Since: 1972
Number of Locations: 16
Combined Production Space: 480,000 square feet
(l to r) Head painter Ismael Acosta, painter’s helper/prepper Jose Vasquez and manager Lester Branson at Mike’s Auto Body in Alameda, CA.
he said. “That means we need to rely on the booth to hit those numbers month after month. It’s going to be asked to perform without any issues on a daily basis, and we’re confident that it’s going to handle the load because it’s well-built and designed to withstand heavy use.” Branson sees a great future for the new location and their USI Chronotech. “You just punch the parameters into the computer, and it spells everything out for the painter,” he said. “As our volume increases, we know that we can handle the work without sacrificing any of the quality we’re known for. When it comes to a booth, you just want to let it do its job because there are so many other things going on here all the time. As our painter learns more about the booth and becomes even more comfortable using it on a daily basis, he will be even more effective and a valuable member of the team.” Head painter Ismael Acosta is a new hire at Mike’s Auto Body but has a total of 15 years of experience in the collision repair industry. He has used a wide range of paint booths over the years, and USI is at the very top of his list, he said. “This booth has made my life a lot easier in many ways, so that I can spend more time concentrating on other things,” Acosta said. “I have
only been using it for a short time, and I’m learning more about it every day. The application process and the curing process are totally different, and they’re saving us time.” Curing the cars with their USI paint booth has allowed Mike’s Auto Body to save significant time and helped cut down on their cycle time. “The car comes out of the booth, and we go right to reassembly,” Branson said. “We never have to use blowers because the air movement in that booth is incredible. With other booths I’ve worked with in the past, we would sometimes have to wait a full day for the car to dry completely, but with the USI booth, we’re able to start working on it immediately. We haven’t had to polish a car since day one, and that’s pretty incredible.” Miller is happy to know his business is in good hands—partly thanks to the USI booth he purchased in 2017. “I’m so happy that Mike’s acquired Alameda Classic Collision, and my employees feel the same,” he said. “I’ve been in this business since I was 16 and washing cars for my father, so it’s been a great journey, and now I am looking for my next opportunity. I’m confident that the shop will succeed because they have the right people, tools and equipment to get it done.”
Acosta relies on USI’s patented EPS, which gives him all of the parameters he needs to paint every car.
Branson, an industry veteran, is lauding his USI North America booth for its efficiency and the overall quality of its impact on the finished product.
USI of North America Company Contact: Stefano Moretto firstname.lastname@example.org (201) 405-7760 www.usius.com
Shop and Product Showcase | AUTOBODY NEWS JUNE 2019 35
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