Ben's Auto Body Earns Fame,
|Ben Steinman has attended every NACE because, he says, it has everything: tools, equipment, software, training and peer networking.|
Ben Steinman, AAM, has lots of claims to fame.
Not the least of which is the fact he has attended every NACE since it started in 1983. Only six others can make that claim.
Steinman, the owner of Ben's Auto Body in Mexico, Mo., has chalked up a lot of other accomplishments too. And his business has earned the respect and admiration of the residents of Mexico and nearby towns while winning many state and national awards.
Among the honors, Ben's shop received the ASA-Missouri/Kansas Facility of the Year award in 2004. In 2008, his town's Chamber of Commerce cited Ben's Auto Body as "Business of the Year."
Ben was BodyShop Business Magazine's "Executive of the Year" in 2001. And in 2005, 2006 and 2007, he was one of 10 finalists for CARQUEST's Excellence Award.
He's currently serving on the executive board of the Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA).
When the local Chamber of Commerce honored him, the president of that organization said: "Ben's Auto Body exemplifies all the great qualities of the community - honesty, fairness and courtesy - and they support this community."
When he said Ben's Auto Body supports the community, he wasn't kidding. Ben's supports it in many ways.
|Ben Steinman, third from left, and his wife, Shirley, are shown standing beside the 1929 Ford Tudor that participated in the History Channel Great Race in 1999. Also in the photo are Jeremy Adams, who served as navigator, and Curtis Jackson, who drove the car from Marietta, Ga., to Anaheim, Calif. Ben was the co-owner of the vehicle. The photos were taken when they came through Fort Worth June 12, 1999.|
He says there are advantages to living in a small town (Mexico's population was l1,320 in 2000). As a result, they are closer to their customers. "Instead of placing ads in the Yellow Pages or on radio or television, we are active in the community," says Ben. "We sponsor Little League baseball teams, promote airbag awareness and present a T-shirt to every member of the high school graduating class. We also give a T-shirt to every high school student who comes to school wearing a seat belt and not texting.
"For almost 15 years we have operated a kiddies' train for small children to ride at special functions, and it's amazing how popular that is. We often go to events in nearby small towns and they love it."
Ben's Auto Body is co-sponsor of Safety Town, a program for six-year-olds that introduces them to firemen, paramedics and other emergency responders. Ben has been chairman of this event for 17 years. He supports the Chamber of Commerce golf tournament, youth baseball teams and the Medical Center Auxiliary auction. Also, Sunset Festivals, Mexico Relay for Life, Mexico Project Graduation, the Handi-Shop and the Missouri Veterans' Home.
He is a past president of the local Rotary Club and is active in the local Elks Lodge and the Travelers Protective Association.
Ben got his start in the industry by working in a body shop owned by his brother and his brother's partner. Ben says he started sweeping floors and emptying trashcans after school and "that was when the paint fumes got into my blood."
He opened Ben's Auto Body in 1981 by renting a 1,800-square-foot building that was unheated. He would come in at 4 a.m. to paint cars when no one was around because there was no paint booth and the fumes would fill the building. Space was limited, so Ben added a second shift with two technicians working from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m."
From that humble beginning, Ben's Auto Body has grown and prospered. Today, it encompasses 15,000 square feet of floor space on six acres of land.
Ben says his collision business seems to have reached a plateau this year. "But," he says, "we also have a towing and recovery business in-house and the mechanical department we have added is really going strong."
He's still active in day-to-day operations. His wife, Shirley, is an important contributor to the shop's success, as is his son, Nick, who is production manager.
Ben says it is "very rewarding to provide a quality service for the community. We want to continue doing so. We're now working on our second generation of clients."
You can bet the town of Mexico is glad he's there. And the collision repair industry is fortunate he's a member.
*Editor's note: For more on how Ben feels about NACE, visit the November 1999 issue of AutoInc., which included a guest editorial by Ben titled "Pick Up Some Motivation at the NACE Superstore." For your convenience, you can access the article online at www.asa shop.org/autoinc/nov99/guest.htm.
|Ben’s Auto Body in Mexico is probably the only body shop in Missouri with an official deer crossing sign across the street. The sign was in place when Ben’s moved there (it was a rural area then) and it still is. Ben’s also is the only shop in Missouri that operates its own train. Ben himself serves as the train’s “engineer,” giving little kids a ride at special events in Mexico and nearby small towns.|
Name of Shop: Ben's Auto Body
Location: Mexico, Mo..
Square Footage of Shop: 15,000 square feet
Number of Years in Business: 28
Number of Employees: 13
Repair Orders per Month: More than 125
Projected Annual Sales: $1.5 million
Web Site Address: www.bensautobodyinc.com
Why Ben Likes ASA and NACE: "ASA has been wonderful for our business. I have never missed a NACE convention. If it were not for NACE, I would have suffered burnout many years ago. It is where I go to get my batteries recharged."*
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