The Body Shop of Athens:
"We want to make your life a little easier." That's what The Body Shop of Athens in Athens, Ga., tells potential customers.
And one way it makes everyone's life a little easier is by being an environmentally friendly company.
The Body Shop of Athens takes being green seriously. For example, it says it was the first in its industry locally to switch to water-based paints.
Carl and Carla Colquett, who own the shop, say they understand the benefits of using only water-based products. "These paints have been used in the manufacture of European luxury vehicles for more than 25 years," says Carl. "All cars roll off the assembly line with this paint already on them. All of our products are environmentally safe and offer the benefits of superior color match. In addition, no volatile organic compounds are released during the paint process, which is better for our community, our employees and our work environment."
They were the only body shop/collision center present at the city's first annual Green Expo for educating the community on the benefits of being environmentally friendly. Carla is also involved in all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates and stakeholder meetings.
There are many other ways the shop makes sure it's environmentally friendly, including sorting its trash for recycling. Carl and Carla are planning to install a charging system for electric cars so that their customers may have a free charging station. They're also thinking about installing solar panels on their shop's roof.
The Body Shop of Athens also makes life a little easier for its customers by full-service claim handling; in-house financing; by fast, dependable service; and by being people customers can trust.
Carl and Carla bring many years' experience to the business. Carl graduated from Athens Technical College, and then worked for a local automobile dealership for 15 years. He opened his own shop in 1995. Carla, who says she married into the business, is the shop's marketing expert.
In September last year, they moved from a small shop on a side street to a large shop in a prominent location on a main highway. The building formerly housed an automobile dealership that did not offer collision repair. Now the building is dedicated solely to collision repair.
Every aspect of converting the building into a collision repair center was done with customers in mind. It offers an indoor, climate-controlled drive-through for estimating and delivery, and a customer lounge with a large window looking directly into the shop area. There will also be a full-service coffee shop in the lobby, which is light and airy thanks to a two-story wall of glass. Conference rooms are also available for public use at no charge. The entire building is Wi-Fi friendly.
Carl and Carla know the claims process can overwhelm clients. So they make it simple for them. They tell them to just deliver their car, sign the papers, and The Body Shop of Athens will take it from there.
The Body Shop of Athensí team includes, from left: Jordan Wooten; Cyndi Ruddell; Clint Allen; Carl Colquett, AAM; Carla Colquett, AAM; Jay Tibbett; Chase Carter; and Julie Bowen.
"I just work here; the customer is the boss," says Carl. Carla agrees and says that's why they have a Customer Service Index score of 100 percent with 100 percent referral.
Both are active in industry and local associations. Both serve on the advisory board for Athens Technical College. Both have earned the Accredited Automotive Manager designation from the Automotive Management Institute. And both are active in the Athens Chamber of Commerce.
Carla currently is vice president of ASA-Georgia's Collision Division and vice president of the Athens chapter of ASA. Carla is also a member of the Women's Industry Network and the Georgia Collision Industry Association, and is active in the Junior League of Athens.
The pair also has a local radio show, "Car Chat with Carl and Carla," that airs on Saturday mornings.
Their plans for the future? "To always be progressive and forward thinking," they say. "We want to position ourselves as leaders in the industry through education and assuming leadership positions."
Name of Shop: The Body Shop of Athens
Location: Athens, Ga.
Square Footage of Shop: 14,000 square feet
Number of Employees: Eight plus intern
Numbers of Repairs Weekly: 25
Projected Annual Sales: $1 million
Website Address: www.thebodyshopofathens.com
Why They Are a Member of ASA: "We continue our membership in ASA to help provide collective power for the industry, for the education and leadership opportunities it offers and to keep ourselves focused on the pulse of the collision industry. We think it helps us provide a better product to consumers."
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