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Friday, 03 October 2008 08:36

Shops Ignite and Unite Texas in New CR Organization

Over 60 shops from nine cities in Central Texas converged Sept. 25 in San Marcos to “Ignite Texas.” The fuse was lit by identifying the industry challenges and devising strategies such as consumer education via creation of an advertising co-op and grass roots and lobbyist legislative efforts –traditional and non-traditional.

The fire fully ignited when Mike Anderson, owner, Wagonwork Collision Centers, Alexandria, Virginia stood up to speak. His financial background,

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 Mike Anderson -- keynote speaker

experience as a shop owner, enthusiasm and passion for the industry and helping others explains his following. He talked about everything from business to waterborne paint.
    Ellis & Salazar, an Austin shop, explained the Benevolence program in which area collision shops refurbish a vehicle and donate the finished car to a family in need of reliable transportation. Often co-related businesses, such as insurance companies or a local gas station, provide their products for a year free. Sponsored by Akzo Nobel, shops all over the country participate. Many shops that have been involved say they get as much satisfaction from presenting the vehicle as the recipients do in receiving it.
    Next up was Gene Sneed of B & G Collision of Temple/Killeen, who shared how the worst hail storm in 13 years and a conflict in a training class changed the way he does business now. (See story on page 10 this issue.) APSA has begun a fund-raiser to assist their members affected by Hurricane Ike.
    Shops were encouraged to capitalize on the heightened awareness of the traditionally mechanical vehicle maintenance during National Car Care month and bring in paint care related items.
    “APSA is pro-small business because we’ve lived it and it’s the backbone of our economy,” said Debbie Hooge, APSA director of market development. “We want to empower members with knowledge to take control of the decision-making pro-cess rather than have terms dictated by others.
    “We all want to be successful and winners in life, but the only way we can accomplish this is to step-up to the starting line and get in the blocks. When you look over, APSA will be in the lane next to you with their track shoes on, running the race with you. The only way we can win is to work together.”
    The next gathering is Tuesday, October 14, Austin State Capitol, 11:30 at Capitol Grill, $15 per person.
    Any shop wishing to form a chapter in their own area can call the Automotive Parts & Services Association (800) 375-2968, visit www.apsassociation.com or e-mail apsa@austintx.net

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Newest SCRS affiliate
Another positive step is that APSA has been chosen as the newest affiliate of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS).

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Gene Sneed speaks to the group about insurance woes,

    APSA is unique in that it covers ten states and represents a variety of industries united under the automotive aftermarket umbrella, including independent automotive parts and paint stores, machine shops, engine rebuilders, automotive repair facilities, and collision repair shops.
    Though APSA has been around for decades, the association’s collision division, currently specific to the state of Texas, is its newest, being formed in 2007. To get it off on the right path, APSA looked to SCRS.
    “Collision repairers are facing many challenges these days, and it seemed like the right time to form a division that addressed their needs,” said APSA President Jim Quinten. “Though moving into the body shop industry was natural for us, we have been representing related industries such as automotive paint suppliers for some time, we knew we needed additional support. We chose to affiliate with SCRS because their industry expertise is impressive. Their knowledgeable perspective and the information they provide will help get our collision division off to a fast start.”
    APSA’s long history of association leadership, including their experience handling issues surrounding member retention, member benefits and legislation initiatives, make them a valuable addition to SCRS.
    “SCRS looks forward to working with APSA in their efforts to build a strong auto body influence within the Texas market,” says SCRS Chairman Gary Wano. “The meetings we have had with them to date leave no doubt that they believe in cooperation as a means to get things done, as do we.”

 

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