St. Marys Proves It Has Staying PowerPosted 3/12/2006
By Lisa McReynolds
St. Marys Auto Body has been a part of the Buerk family since 1953. For six decades, the family has focused its time and energy on giving their customers superior auto body and collision repair service. St. Marys is staffed by family members and industry professionals who take pride in their work and their company.
Bob Buerk, co-owner since 1986, and his brother, John, have helped run St. Marys Auto Body since their father inherited the shop in 1965. Ever since, it's been a family affair. Bob's wife, Sandy, is also co-owner. Bob and Sandy's daughter, Leslie, helps in the office. Ben Eckert, Bob and Sandy's nephew, assists on the shop floor with detailing and helping other technicians.
St. Marys looks for a certain type of person to be a part of their successful team.
"To us, it is more important to possess good character than just technical skills," said Sandy. "Skills can be taught, but a negative personality causes so much trouble."
To continue the success of St. Marys Auto Body, these staff members must have courage, commitment, initiative and respect along with reliability, focus, a positive attitude and honesty. Frequent training of employees at St. Marys is mandatory. The shop invested in an 1,100-square-foot Professional Development Center. The center allows them to host classes on continuing education for insurers, I-CAR education events, as well as many other "personal development" types of classes and seminars.
"We respect and enjoy everyone who works here and our 'team' is more like our family," Sandy said.
Not only is family and business important to the St. Marys crew, so is community. The St. Marys staff is proud to support local organizations and businesses whenever they can.
"We do as much as we possibly can for our community and church," Sandy said.
St. Marys purchased a historic lightpost for their downtown area. It also supports the annual National Night Out program, D.A.R.E. program, the United Way, Crystal Fire Department and many other causes.
"We know that if it wasn't for our local customers and guidance from God, we wouldn't have anything. So, with a charitable attitude, we like to 'give back' whenever possible," Sandy said.
Some charity groups and clubs also use St. Marys Professional Development Center in the evenings.
St. Marys Auto Body believes that to be successful, you have to have a dream and a mission and put it into writing to develop a plan. Bob, Sandy and their staff believe that even though the dream may take some time to achieve, if you want it bad enough, you will stay focused and keep going no matter what obstacles are in your way.
St. Marys Auto Body offers a number of services, with educated and professional technicians doing the work. St. Marys owns and operates a flatbed towing service that is available 24 hours a day. An in-house paint department mixes and blends its tints for refinishing jobs. The technicians are ASE and I-CAR trained to take care of frame and unibody damages.
A new product that St. Marys offers is AQUAPEL. The window treatment forms a chemical bond with the glass that increases water repellency. This causes the water to bead and slide right off the glass. St. Marys also offers a service on its Web site that allows customers to track the progress of their car repair. Other online services include appointment scheduling, a list of classes held in the Professional Development Center, class registry and information requests.
"Our marketing is something we focus on every day," Sandy said. "For the past 10 years, we have been consistent with radio and television advertising, as well as public service." St. Marys also has a newsletter to which its customers can subscribe.
At the end of the day, looking back at all of the repairs, phone calls and classes, what can Bob and Sandy Buerk say is the best part of their day?
Simple. Doing what they love with people with whom they truly love to work. The staff at St. Marys Auto Body really likes people and enjoys being in a service-oriented business. They love meeting new people, whether it's in St. Marys, Pa., or at industry events when they travel.
"It's also the greatest feeling in the world to walk into a restaurant full of people and realize you've done repairs for someone sitting at every single table, and they are all happy to see us," Sandy said. "We just want to maintain our status as the No. 1 choice for collision repair and exceed our customers' expectations while enjoying our jobs."
Shop StatsName: St. Marys Auto Body Inc.
Location: 1021 Trout Run Rd., Saint Marys, Pa.
No. of employees: 11
Projected annual sales volume: $1.5 million
No. of years in business: 53
Web site: www.stmarysautobody.com
On what makes their business unique: Our business is unique because our staff is unique. We laugh a lot every single day. Everybody here has a great sense of humor, and we look forward to being together every day.
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