Recently, a post on a Facebook page from Tiffany Reyes in Houston received major attention from the collision repair industry.
“My husband and I opened our body shop last month and since day one ... every person that has walked into my office has said, ‘This is a rough business to be in. You sure you can handle it?’ We’ve heard from tow truck drivers, the shop workers. Yes. Yes, I can handle it. But, I'm not sure the industry is ready for me. Feeling determined at Lone Star Auto Collision Plus.”
Many industry leaders weighed in with congratulations and support, while others made comments such as “are you hiring?”; “just run it like a real business … ” One sales representative used the opportunity to pitch his products.
To the naked eye, it looked like a husband and wife team opening a new small shop, which is fairly rare in an industry where many shop owners are either retiring and, or selling their businesses to large collision chains. But, once I dug a little deeper into the story behind Lone Star Auto Collision Plus, I realized it had all of the qualities of a whodunnit mystery novel or a show like CSI, except it was real.
It all began when Reyes’ husband, Augustine, was approached by a friend (who we will call “David” here), who eventually described his plans for opening a body shop in the Houston area. At first, David was asking to borrow some of Reyes’ tools, and the conversation evolved from there. David said he needed a $50,000 cash infusion to get his business to the next level, so he asked if he knew anyone who could loan him the money?
After looking at this fledgling shop, the Reyes decided to give David the loan and, ironically, Tiffany got into an accident during the same time. She was the last person in a three-car pileup that caused some significant damage to the bumper of her 2016 Mercedes ML 550, so she took it to Lone Star for the repair.