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Midwestern News

1HomePageMap small mw 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin

Pat Johnson, a cigarette-puffing Martinsville body shop owner, cut ties with insurer State Farm last November, fed up with its requirement that he buy vehicle parts through its online PartsTrader site instead of using his own longtime suppliers.

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The current wait time at Yach’s Auto Body in Wausau, WI, is, believe it or not, only a week to a week and a half, but president Henry Yach III says this has been their busiest winter yet.

From fender benders to roofs collapsing on cars, Yach’s Auto Body has seen it all this season as the record-breaking cold ushered in a whole new set of auto body problems.

“A lot of vehicles now have plastic parts, and so in the warm temperatures they’ll flex, but in the cold they’ll shatter,” Yach explained.

Yach says they’ve seen an increase in the number of people bringing in their cars for light damage. A trend he attributes to people heeding warnings and traveling at slower speeds.

Another common story Yach says he’s been hearing from customers is about those bigger than life snowbanks. He says since the snowbanks are so dense from all the melting and re-freezing, when cars hit them it’s almost like hitting a concrete wall.

Marshall Auto Body in Waukesha, WI, has received the 2014 Wisconsin Sustainable Process of the Year award by the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council. Their business model is centered on customer value and eliminating or minimizing as much waste activity and material as possible. These changes have meant less waste to recycle, lower energy consumption, lower material usage, and the ability to get the bulk of their electrical power from a large 72kW solar panel array.

Eight years ago, the company implemented a lean manufacturing system that helps them to find and eliminate waste, surface problems, and even increase use and throughput. Along with their work in eliminating waste, the company monitors their energy usage and makes that available online through their e-gauge. Marshall has partnered with H&H Group Holdings (another Green Maters Participant) to install solar panels at their facility. Their monitoring system allows them to plan for and minimize peak demand for energy consumption. Marshall Auto Body hopes to be carbon neutral by 2016.

The 1Collision Network has announce the addition of Troy Waller Auto Body in Fort Dodge, IA, to its network of independently-owned collision centers in the Midwest. With the addition of Troy Waller’s, 1Collision Network now includes 20 facilities in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Troy Waller Auto Body is owned by Troy Waller and has been in business for over 23 years. Waller stated, “As MSOs and networks rapidly gain market share, I am excited to affiliate with a growing network of quality shops that provide my business with marketing and performance resources I would be hard pressed to find on my own.”

1Collision Network president Jim Keller commented, “Troy’s business has a great reputation in Ft. Dodge, has strong DRP relationships, and with the addition of his shop, the 1Collision Network expands to five locations in Iowa. We are proud to welcome Troy and his organization as our newest 1Collision Network partner.”

Scott Schaefer of Schaefer Autobody Centers in Fenton, MO, wants to build a new shop at 1290 Central Park Drive in O’Fallon, MO. The City Council Community Development Committee approved the zoning variance to make it happen. But O’Fallon Zoning Hearing officer and attorney Douglas C. Gruenke advised against granting the variance, and development director Ted Shekell and city administrator Walter Denton agreed. The site’s zoning is specific to auto sales.

Auto repair firm Nagy’s Collision Specialists has opened its first power sports facility. Formerly operated as B&L Motorsports in Wadsworth, OH, Nagy's Power Sports will service and repair motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs, snowmobiles, and golf carts. Former B&L owner Bob Gerberich, who has 56 years in the industry, will stay on board to assist with the shop, while Fred Seckel will use his more than 30 years of power sports industry experience to manage the location.