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Monday, 23 May 2016 22:30

Shop Showcase: Florida Shop Owner Takes a Swing at Perfection with Sikkens

Florida Shop Owner Takes a Swing at Perfection with Sikkens

With two locations, Sunbeam Autobody repairs approximately 350 cars every month.


Bobby Andrews, the owner of Sunbeam Auto Body in Jacksonville, FL, was a minor league level baseball player in his youth and now he loves playing golf, so he's obviously competitive. But, when it comes to making it in the collision repair industry, he knows it's surely no game and that's why Andrews uses Sikkens paint, made by AkzoNobel.

Sunbeam Auto Body
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 72
In business since: 1986
Locations: 2
Combined Production Space: 65,000 square feet (combined)

With two busy shops that fix approximately 350 cars every month, Andrews, 50, said that he needs a paint that can perform time after time on every vehicle that comes through the doors, for obvious reasons.
"With our volume, we need a paint that will give us excellent coverage every time, because the clock is always running in this industry," Andrews explained. "We're constantly being watched and judged by the insurance companies and measured for things like our CSI and cycle time. So, using Sikkens is a big part of that and an integral part of our production process."
A second-generation collision lifer, Andrews learned much of the business from his father, Buck. By working alongside his dad in a garage in their yard, Andrews learned the business by observing and doing it himself. "It was a great experience because my dad was an excellent painter and a very good teacher," Andrews said. "He worked for car dealerships over the years; had a wonderful career and is now 72, retired and healthy. For two to three years, he helped out here at the shop prepping cars mostly."
After playing baseball and getting a degree in business at Jacksonville University, Andrews worked for several collision-related companies as the learning continued. But first he had to make a big decision. "The Montreal Expos made me an offer to keep playing baseball, but I knew that was a long journey. So, I got a job at a car dealership managing a collision center for two years and then I worked in different capacities in the industry. I was a damage appraiser for almost two years and got hired as a sales rep for a paint company. And that's where I met the owner of Sunbeam Auto Body, Dave McBroom, who was one of my customers."
McBroom opened Sunbeam in 1986, but Andrews could see he wasn't enamored with the business, he said. "Dave was a businessman as opposed to a body shop guy and he was trying to get out of the industry, to be honest. So, I became his partner in 2003 and when he passed away unexpectedly in 2012, I bought his estate out within the last two years."
Part of Andrew’s reason for staying in the industry has to be his two sons who both work in the shops. Fraternal twins Harrison and Hunter, 21, are learning the trade the same way Andrews did more than 30 years ago.
"Harrison is a shop foreman and Hunter is a body tech and I can see they like their jobs, which is so great," he said. "My daughter Chloe is 16 and an exceptional high school softball pitcher. I don't think she will enter the business, but she would be a great estimator, bookkeeper or working in the front office, so we'll just have to wait and see."


Florida Shop Owner Takes a Swing at Perfection with Sikkens

Shop owner, Bobby Andrews runs Sunbeam Autobody in Jacksonville, FL with his two sons, Hunter (left) and Harrision (right). 

After working with the same paint company for more than a decade, Andrews started looking to switch last summer. "We had a long-term, solid relationship with our former paint vendor, but in the end the AkzoNobel people gave me an offer I couldn't refuse, through Keystone Automotive, their jobber."
After two weeks of training, the crew at Sunbeam Auto Body was able to make the transition seamlessly, he said. "All we had to do was switch out the product and get a new mixing system, which they installed. It was an easy process and our entire paint crew (12 people) got trained here at the shop. The AkzoNobel folks were here on-site the first week and then we were pretty much good to go. They checked in periodically during that second week to make sure we were okay and then after that it was full speed ahead. It was all about learning the new ratios, product names and numbers and how the mixing computer works, basically."
One of the best things that Andrews likes about Sikkens is their digital color process, he explained. "We use a digital camera essentially to photograph the vehicle for the best possible match. It's a tool that has been around for many years, but AkzoNobel has taken it to a whole new level. Instead of relying on the car's color code, we just use this system on every car. We're getting dead-on color matches now and saving time, because there isn't any guesswork involved."
"It lays out real nice and we're getting perfect coverage, metallic control and the sprayability is awesome," Andrews explained. "We're consistently duplicating OEM solid, metallic and pearl color effects and by finishing the job with Sikkens clearcoat, we're producing exceptional results with the Autobase Plus MM."


Florida Shop Owner Takes a Swing at Perfection with Sikkens

Painter Bob Broberg loves accurate color matches that he achieves with Sikkens Autobase Plus MM.


For more information about AkzoNobel products, visit their website at 


For the PDF of this article, click hereTo read more auto body shop profiles from the June 2016 Shop & Product Showcase, click here.

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