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It Pays to Give

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Every year around the holidays, we  start getting emails, phone calls and press release_notess from collision repair facilities about their charitable efforts. 

Many are involved in vehicle donation programs, others in food drives or Toys for Tots. We started contacting some of these shops to learn more about their efforts and it turns out a lot of them are involved in charitable initiatives or community-focused efforts year-round. After digging into it further, it was really remarkable to find out how many facilities make a point of giving back to their customers and communities year after year.

So, in this issue, we decided to highlight some of those shops, looking at how they give back and what impact their efforts have had on their businesses. In “Goodwill, Good Business,” the initiatives of five collision repair centers are detailed. Each effort is different, but the purpose is the same. These operators have a sincere passion for helping others and it pays off.

One of them, Frank Butori, owner of Butori Collision Center in Butte, Mont., says he believes strongly in providing for the community that provides for him.

“Who’s going to help me out if I don’t help my people? I live in Butte, I buy in Butte, and I give in Butte,” he says.

Butori sponsors local sporting events and food drives, donates to local schools and helps the elderly during Christmas. His shop also buys Christmas dinner and gifts for one family in need each year.

Jay Urato, owner of Windham Coach and Carriage in Battleboro, Vt., whose shop is also committed to community engagement, says the efforts aren’t for the business, but there’s no question they contribute to the shop’s success.

“It shows the community in a positive way that Windham Coach and Carriage is involved,” Urato says. “It’s about having your face out there all the time, and it shows that you’re getting involved and you want to be part of the community.”

Hopefully these shops will inspire you to start, continue, or expand your own community-involvement efforts. You can even find a great example of how to set up a vehicle donation program in our Idea Shop feature. As many shops have already found out, going the extra mile to connect with your customer base can do wonders for your business.

Elsewhere in this issue, there are plenty of inspirational stories and useful strategies to help get you through the often slow holiday season. You can find a case study about a shop that grappled with a huge blow during the recession—when sales were cut in half in the middle of a $1 million expansion.

If you’ve got time for a little reading, we put together a list of five leadership books, recommended by five shop operators who have used them to grow their businesses. This issue of FenderBender also offers a strategy for developing customers for life and  another on outsourcing marketing initiatives, which can be more affordable and valuable than you might guess.

Enjoy the read, and from all of us at FenderBender, happy holidays.

Jake Weyer

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