A local company known for serving the West Michigan community is now celebrating 70 years in business.
First started in 1948 as Hudsonville Body Shop, Auto Body Xperts was created by Herb Scout and his friend Gord.
In 1982, John Scout, Herb’s son, and Bob Arnoldink bought Gord’s portion of the business and ran it as a partnership until Herb’s retirement.
And while the business started with one location, it grew through the years with the creation of Holland Auto Body Shop and the purchase of Marcott Body Shop in Wayland. In September 2017, the business opened a fourth location in Zeeland.
Despite the different names, the shops were all family-owned-and-operated by the same partners. In an attempt to avoid confusion, in 2008, all locations changed their names to Auto Body Xperts.
For Arnoldink, although he bought into the business in 1982, he first started with the company in 1970, right out of high school.
“When I started here, it was a small shop on Chicago Drive and it was a three-man operation,” Arnoldink said. “It was three guys working in a building. It was a small little building and we could get about five cars into the building. I never had any idea that it would grow into what it is. I didn’t even plan on staying there that long.”
Arnoldink said the growth of the business followed the growth that occurred across West Michigan and the additional demand they found in the body shop industry.
Along the way, the business joined CARSTAR and worked with them for about 20 years. For Arnoldink, that partnership taught him a lot about running a successful business.
“I learned how to build and run a business [and] how to run multiple operations by belonging to that franchise,” Arnoldink said.
Through the years, the company has continued to remain a family-run business and today, a number of family members help operate the four locations.
“We live in this community,” said Mandy Beroza, Arnoldink’s daughter and general manager. “Our customers are our friends and neighbors. We are blessed to have serviced the community for 70 years and want to give back in any way we can.”