Press Release (ePRNews.com) - CARLSBAD, California - Jan 30, 2018 - NOTE: This October SPS profile was originally published in print in September 2017, and published online in October 2017.
CARSTAR Atlantic Collision Center in Lowell, MA, is a family-owned shop that has been in business for 38 years, and a part of the CARSTAR franchise for 28 years.
The Blaisdell family also owns a second CARSTAR Collision Center in Fitchburg, MA.
We bought the Global Finishing Solutions (GFS) booth about 12 years ago, and the quality of the booth at that time was far superior to anybody else’s. The booth has dual-skin insulated walls and better exhaust equipment.
One reason the two locations, referred to as CARSTAR Atlantic, have remained successful businesses for so many years is because they use efficient, high-quality equipment.
“We bought the Global Finishing Solutions (GFS) booth about 12 years ago, and the quality of the booth at that time was far superior to anybody else’s,” explained shop owner Justin Blaisdell. “The booth has dual-skin insulated walls and better exhaust equipment.”
Justin co-owns CARSTAR Atlantic with his father, Gary, and his two brothers, Corey and Randy. When the Blaisdells looked to upgrade their equipment in the newer store, he did the same thing he did 12 years ago.
“I went to a lot of local stores and looked at all the local vendors and reps who sold equipment. GFS was still superior in my opinion,” Justin said. “I purchased an Ultra XC Paint Booth and Ultra XD Mix Room for our newer location.”
He said that his productivity has certainly improved thanks to his GFS equipment.
“It’s hard to put an exact number on it as far as efficiency because when jobs are cleaner you don’t have to polish the work as much,” he explained. “But baking is much better—the airflow of the booth and the heat and technology has made it so paint jobs come out fully baked a lot faster.”
Justin stated that they’re very proud to be part of the GFS family.
“GFS partners with an extensive, experienced distribution network to ensure their customers have access to local support,” said Troy Volbrecht, Territory & National Account Manager with GFS.
Justin added that he has a strong relationship with his personal GFS distributor, Rob Mercier of Collision Center Design.
“Rob did a fantastic job,” he said. “He is extremely knowledgeable and a great person to be selling GFS products.”
Another major reason for CAR-STAR-Fitchburg’s stamina in the industry is its well-trained, passionate staff.
“We have an incredibly young crew with a ton of energy,” said Justin. “Everybody wants to learn the new techniques.”
Even though Justin, like many owners, agrees that it can be difficult to find top techs, he has figured out a way to deal with the issue.
“We’ve had a lot of success investing in local technical schools, as well as hiring from other industries,” he said. “The two schools we’ve invested in the most are Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School and Nashoba Valley Technical School.”
Justin explained that the collision repair students at the local technical high schools can start working and getting paid in the industry their junior year if they earn strong enough grades.
“They’re able to switch off between one week of work and one week of classes,” he added. “So, when they graduate they already have a two-year advancement in the industry with real-life experience.”
Blaisdell went on to say that a lot of owners struggle to find technicians who have an “owner mentality,” but he doesn’t see that as a necessity for his hires.
“Sometimes they just want to be a technician without worrying about owning a store, which means they’re probably not going to have the same drive you had when you were in their position,” he explained. “But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I look at it as someone we can work with who wants to stay in the position and isn’t going to open a store down the street. It’s a win-win for us and the employee. This does not mean that they are not efficient either. It means they want to work hard, get great pay and then go home.”
In order to keep his crew up-to-date on the constant influx of new technology, Justin has manufacturers come to the shop and demo tools and techniques.
“We invest time and money into training, but the reimbursement part can be a little bit more difficult,” he said. “Insurers want to keep things even keel, even though technology advancements and purchasing products have become the norm.”
Apart from training and technology, Justin also stressed the importance of investing in customers.
“The best form of marketing for us, as well as our number one focus, is the customer,” he said. “If we do a really good job with the customer, they tell their friends, they keep coming back, they give us good reviews online, and so on.”
Justin said CARSTAR Atlantic also donates to local sporting events, schools, and charities to stay involved with the community.
“We do some ground marketing as well, but none of that pays off as much as taking care of the customer who comes in the door,” he added.
Investing in high-quality equipment, an excellent crew, training in new technologies and maintaining customer relationships have led to long-term success for the Blaisdells and CARSTAR Atlantic.
CARSTAR Atlantic Collision Center
Locations: Lowell & Fitchburg, MA
Company At A Glance…
Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 40
In Business Since: 1979
Number of Locations: Two
Combined Production Space: 22,000 square feet
Global Finishing Solutions
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