Gwatney Collision Center
Location: Sherwood, AR
Company At A Glance...
Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 32
In Business Since: 1957
Number of Locations: Three
DRP Programs: Nine
Combined Production Space: 49,176 square feet (combined)
“We recognize we have multiple customers to serve in the collision center world,” said David Sample, the service director at the facility’s Sherwood and West Little Rock locations. “It’s very important to us to make sure that the level of customer service they receive is a very positive experience—one where they are kept well-informed.”
The company was established in 1957 when Harold Gwatney opened a Gwatney Chevrolet dealership and collision center in Jacksonville. In 2005, the business expanded with a Gwatney Buick GMC dealership and collision center in Sherwood. The company also operates a satellite location in West Little Rock for the Sherwood location that handles non-structural repairs. When Sample joined Gwatney in 2007, the Sherwood collision center was approximately 6,000 square feet and employed seven workers.
“By establishing rapport with our customers and insurance partners, advertising and delivering quality repairs and customer service, we were able to grow our business substantially from that point in time until today,” said Sample.
Since then, there have been three expansions at the Sherwood facility. The newest location opened in May.
Sample said the best kind of advertising is from the customers themselves through word-of-mouth. Car-O-Liner products have helped Gwatney Collision Center deliver a high-quality repair that customers can count on.
When Sample first took over as manager of the Sherwood location, the company was utilizing other measuring and frame equipment.
“We were dealing with square footage issues, and the racks in the shop were too bulky,” explained Sample.
One of the first decisions he made as manager was to purchase a Car-O-Liner BenchRack. He said the BenchRack is very user-friendly and versatile because it is designed to hold and lift any type of uni-body or full-frame vehicle. Not only does this allow the shop to perform repairs quickly and effectively, but it also helps avoid interruptions when moving cars between different work stations.
Sample was already very familiar with Car-O-Liner equipment from growing up in the collision repair business and working at his father, Wayne’s, shop—M&S Body Shop.
“From the earliest time I can remember in the 1980s, we had Car-O-Liner products, and we always found the capabilities of the equipment [to be] state-of-the-art,” he said. “We had great success and quality repairs, so I wanted to continue using the products while growing our collision operations at Gwatney.”
Left: Mike Hickman pictured with the BenchRack 6300. Right: Wesley Sample using Car-O-Liner’s Vision2 X2 electronic measuring system.
Over the years, the Sherwood location purchased additional Car-O-Liner products, including a CTR7 spot welder, a portable aluminum repair station and MIG welder, CAR-O-TRONIC Classic measuring system and one 5500 bench rack.
As the company grew, so did its equipment needs. When the new location opened, they added an additional CTR7 spot welder, a 6300 BenchRack, an EVO system, eight Speed work stations and two Vision2 X2 electronic measuring systems to accompany the 5500 and 6300 BenchRacks.
Sample said the shop has always been able to depend on Car-O-Liner equipment for its accuracy and efficiency.
“By far, the measuring system is the most user-friendly that I’ve used, and I feel that it’s very accurate,” said Sample.
Using Car-O-Liner equipment, such as the BenchRacks and aluminum repair station, he said they’ve been able to maintain the structural integrity that was built into the vehicles at the factory.
“Car-O-Liner has been a great product for us to use to make sure we’re as efficient and as timely as possible,” said Sample.
Since using the aluminum repair station, the shop has been able to perform more aluminum repairs than they had previously.
“It’s a great product that I have full faith in,” he said.
The Gwatney team has also been impressed by Car-O-Liner’s training and support.
“Any time we’ve purchased Car-O-Liner products, we’ve received the amount of training that we need in order to use that piece of equipment to its fullest capability,” said Sample. “Rick Peel is our Southwest regional representative, and he is always just a phone call away if there is an issue that we run into or some sort of need we may have. If he can’t come personally, he puts us on the phone with somebody who can help us out.”
Sample said Car-O-Liner has been very dependable in regards to equipment updates and has allowed the shop to move vehicles through quickly and be confident that the technician has been prepared to perform the repair properly.
“I’m very appreciative of the Gwatney team, which includes Jamie Cobb, owner, and Aaron Salisbury, fixed ops director, for allowing me to move forward with this latest collision center project and incorporating new Car-O-Liner equipment,” said Sample. “I couldn’t have been able to complete it without them.”
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