Tuesday, 20 December 2016 13:31

Auto Body Shop in KS on A Rapid Growth Path

Bob Notz

Technician Bob Notz works on a bumper in the Derby Auto Masters body shop. Segments of Auto Masters have been purchased by Collision Works of Oklahoma, which plans to expand its presence in the area.


The sign at 910 N. Nelson Drive says “Auto Masters,” and while that’s the business’ working name, the venture has been owned since August by Oklahoma City-based Collision Works, a rapidly expanding auto body and service enterprise.

Collision Works has bought Auto Masters’ operation east of Baltimore, which is centered on collision repair. No price was disclosed on the transaction, which also included two Wichita locations, 1636 E. First and 2222 N. Hoover.


Auto Masters operations on the west side of Baltimore are still owned and operated by local businessman Larry Greider.


Those operations deal with service and vehicle sales.


The purchase is Collision Works’ initial one into the Kansas market. The acquisition also includes a service center, associated with the northwest location, as well an auto glass company and a towing service.


But expect more, said Sherri Penka, the company’s community relations director, as officials are looking at adding a fourth location when demand warrants it.


That site will be in east Wichita.


Collision Works was founded in 1996 in Oklahoma City and is owned by Jacob Nossaman.


Until the Wichita-area move, all of his expansion was in Oklahoma.


After a decade of business, a second store opened in Shawnee in 2006 and in 2013, a third location opened in Norman.


Two more stores were added in 2014 when Collision Works acquired Darrin’s in Newcastle and opened up a new shop facility in Edmond. The following year, it acquired Duvak’s Collision Center in Ardmore, bringing the number of business locations to six.


Also in 2016, the business entered the Tulsa metro market with its Broken Arrow body shop, which opened in late spring, and it just recently expanded with another Tulsa outlet.


Customer service emphasis


Collision Works also expanded its share of the Oklahoma City market with its purchase of Dyer’s Collision & Frame Repair.


Penka said the growth is prudent and careful and lays the foundation for a solid business focused on customer service. Penka credits satisfied clients for much of the recent growth.


The company places a lot of emphasis on its customers, she said, and in that regard, is working to use technology to update them on how their repair is going, including sending text messages.


“We’re here to make the process easier for the customer,” she said.


The company also works to be part of its communities, she said.

“That’s something that we really enjoy – being involved,” she said. “We’re excited to be part of the Derby community.”


In that regard, shortly after the purchase closed, it took part in the Derby Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Chili Cookoff and now is undertaking a toy drive.


“We support a lot of local charities,” she said.


Collision Works does some service and commercial work, but the bulk of its business is working with insurance companies and their clients on accident repairs.


The operation has about 20 employees and all have been retained. That group includes longtime manager Tim Mark, who has been with Auto Masters for 20 years, along with numerous employees, such as technician Bob Notz, who has been with the business for 17 years.


There may be additional jobs in the future.


“We are always accepting applications for employment,” Penka said. “If anyone has any interest we’ll be glad to speak with them.”


Penka said even with the expansion the company works to retain its family ownership heritage and local feel.


“Many of our customers, especially in the Derby area, like to deal with independent people rather than the big chains,” she said.


We would like to thank Derby Informer for reprint permission.