Tuesday, 02 April 2019 17:22

In Reverse: The 1970s - Part 1 - The Collision Industry Starts to Mature

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In 1972, Anthony A. Martino opened his first auto painting shop in Wilmington, DE. Using the first letter of his last name and first letter of his first and middle name, he called his new business Maaco Auto Painting. He soon opened additional shops that provided a good overall paint job at a reasonable cost. By1977, he had almost 200 locations.


Innovative ideas were popping up all over the place. Early 1972 saw a short trade magazine article suggesting that a car should be totally torn-down in order to write a complete and correct damage estimate. This was perhaps the first time this was mentioned in a trade magazine, indicating this might have been a “novel” concept.


Industry associations were growing in numbers, strength, and savvy. State and regional associations were popping up all over the place and joining with national associations. The industry’s voice was getting louder. This was spurred by the growth in number and popularity of industry trade magazines. It was becoming easier for a shop owner to see what was going on outside his four walls and easier for them to take an active part in the industry.


Traditional part jobbers had been carrying paint and related collision repair products since the 1930s. By 1970, of the roughly 25,000 full line automotive parts jobbers in the U.S., about 15,000 carried paint and body supplies to one extent or another, but only 2,000 or so actually promoted the sales of these items. This left the door wide open through the 1960s and early 1970s for a slightly different business model---that of the paint, body and equipment (PBE) jobber. The Automotive Service Industry Association (ASIA) defined a PBE jobber as a store for whom at least 70 percent of their sales come from paint, abrasives, tape, collision repair equipment and the like sold to body shops. At a 1972 industry show, ASIA recognized the PBE jobber as an official industry entity.

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