Friday, 15 January 2016 10:02

Auto Body Repair Comes to Oak Park Heights Strip Mall in MN

St. Croix Valley drivers in need of auto body work will soon be able to drop off and pick up their vehicles at the Stillwater Crossing strip mall in Oak Park Heights.

Richard Reeves of Maaco Auto Body plans to open a sales office at 5956 Osgood Ave., in the same building as businesses such as Carbone’s Pizza and Liquor Time. The office will be for sales only, with repair taking place at the Maaco shop in Little Canada.

“This concept is brand new within Maaco,” Reeves said. “There are 500 (Maaco) body shops but only about eight or nine retail offices like this one.”

He said it’s the first Maaco sales office in Minnesota.

A Maaco representative will be able to provide a quote at the Oak Park Heights site, and vehicles will be towed to the main shop the same day for repairs. Cars might be parked at the Oak Park Heights location overnight in some situations, such as when the customer drops off a vehicle after hours or can’t pick up a car the same day repairs are complete. In any case, the vehicles could be parked in one of three stalls designated for Maaco, according to information submitted to the city council.

Reeves believes the sales office is a good fit for the location and his business. Sales offices require less space, equipment and maintenance than a full auto body shop, but still provide customers a convenient location for drop off and pickup. Reeves said it’s also easier to find locations for sales offices than for body shops.

“To do major repair these days, it’s becoming very hard to get permission for a decent location,” he said. “It’s about the location. Now we make it easy and comfortable for customers to come in. They don’t have to feel like they’re coming into a heavy industrial park, a dirty environment, anything like that. They come into a strip mall.”

Reeves said most of his customers are paying out of pocket, rather than through insurance, and he said Maaco has a variety of choices and price points for its work.

“We offer options, and that’s why we have such a variation in prices and qualities,” Reeves said, adding that this allows customers to pick what fits their needs and budgets.

The Oak Park Heights unanimously approved a conditional use permit for the Maaco facility Dec. 8.

Reeves expected to open the sales office Jan. 24.

Thank you to the Stillwater Gazette for permission to reprint this article.

We would like to thank Jonathan Young of The Stillwater Gazette for reprint permission.