A New Chapter Begins: California-Based Entrepreneurs Acquire Autobody News

Pictured, left to right, are Vicki Sitarz, Norm Morano, Rodolfo Garcia, Heather Priddy, Joe Momber, Paul Stepanek, Barbara Davies, Nathan Gregory, Randi Scholtes, Abby Andrews, Kelly Cashman and Bryan Malinski.

We’re excited to announce California-based entrepreneurs Nathan Gregory and Paul Stepanek have acquired Autobody News, based in Carlsbad, CA, effective August 2023.

Gregory and Stepanek bring a potent mix of content production, advertising, business management and growth experience necessary to lead Autobody News. With a combined professional history spanning over two decades across diverse sectors such as entertainment media, infrastructure construction, real estate investment, online media and consumer products, they bring a wealth of knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit to the business.

Thoughts from the New Owners

With our experience in entertainment media, we set out to acquire a media business that served a durable, stable and essential market. Upon our introduction to Autobody News, it became evident this platform matched our strategic objectives. Recognizing its robust brand identity and foundational strength, we are excited to integrate our experience in content production, digital media and advertiser relationship management.

Our aim is to enhance the brand's prevailing reputation while increasing and improving content and advertising opportunities that resonate with the industry's evolving needs. The collision repair industry represents a critical segment of the market, and we are committed to providing more and better national, regional and local news and content, bolstering the unique position Autobody News holds in the market.

"Autobody News is more than just a publication; it's a legacy,” said Stepanek. “With this acquisition, our vision is to tap into the core strength of Autobody News by further enhancing its content, especially the unique regional offerings. We understand the trust and expectations associated with this, and we're committed to delivering."

"Having a clear digital roadmap is crucial in today's media landscape,” added Gregory. “We're thrilled about infusing our digital media expertise into Autobody News, ushering in an era of improved digital content and advertising opportunities that resonate with the industry's evolving needs."

Our Promise to Stakeholders

We value the support and loyalty of readers and advertisers and want to assure our stakeholders that operations will continue as normal. As a top industry publication, we will continue to provide the top-notch content and excellent client service Autobody News is known for.

We are proud of the multi-year relationships the company has developed with its talented columnists and will continue to rely on their expert coverage of the industry.

For readers, we understand the importance of providing regional news for shops across the country and will continue to expand our coverage in this area.

For advertisers, we plan to leverage cutting-edge digital advertising technology for improved advertiser opportunities based on our expertise in this area.

Overall, we will uphold and elevate the standards set by Autobody News since its inception.

History of Autobody News

Autobody News was founded in 1982 by a body shop owner in Southern California. After recognizing its great brand equity and growth potential, Barbara Davies and Jeremy Hayhurst purchased the publication 16 years ago with a background in advertising and academic publishing, respectively.

When they took over the magazine in 2007, there were only two regional editions circulated in seven states. Over the next four years, they expanded to all 50 states and printed five regional editions, enabling the company to reach body shops nationwide. Since then, the company has stayed true to its core mission of providing body shops with regional and national news about the evolving industry.

In addition to the five print issues, Autobody News provides digital news offerings, such as email newsletters, a podcast, social media platforms and robust website content. It has also developed a reputation for being a dependable news source uniquely positioned to bring readers a blend of regional and national news.

“Barbara and I didn’t know anything about the collision repair market when we purchased Autobody News but found everyone to be welcoming and helpful as we got up to speed,” recalled Hayhurst. “It’s a very tight-knit community and we’re grateful for the many personal and professional relationships we have developed.”

"Over the years, the passion and integrity of the Autobody News team have been the backbone of our success,” said Davies. “In Nathan and Paul, I saw not just entrepreneurs but custodians for the magazine's future. Their vision, coupled with their digital prowess, made them the ideal choice to helm Autobody News's next chapter."

Davies and Hayhurst said they are proud of what has been accomplished over the last 16 years and feel honored to have worked with so many great people within the industry, including body shops, business leaders, manufacturers and advertisers. They look forward to watching the new owners take Autobody News to the next level of excellence. Davies and Hayhurst also recognize how the new owners respect the publication’s brand and relevance and have the skill set and passion to take it to the next level.

Looking Ahead

Looking to the future and the significant technological changes in the collision repair industry, Autobody News is committed to providing essential news and information required by shops to stay competitive in an ever-changing environment.

As the only independently owned collision repair magazine focused on regional news, our goal is to continue reporting as quickly as possible on important industry developments so readers can stay informed about topical issues.

Planned expansion includes improving our content strategy, focusing on the website, email, podcast and social media channels.

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