CARSTAR Honors Top Franchisees
CARLSBAD, Calif., June 13, 2015—A little more than two years ago, Tony and Sharon Kempen were facing unemployment as the Wisconsin manufacturing company they both worked for was set to close.
Saturday, they were honored as business leaders.
CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts named its annual award winners Saturday during an emotional ceremony on Day 1 of the nationwide MSO’s annual conference at the Park Hyatt Aviara in Carlsbad, Calif. The conference continues through Tuesday.
Dozens of shops were honored for achieving milestone anniversaries with the company, and CARSTAR recognized several businesses for being among its top performers in 2015.
The Kempens earned CARSTAR’s Next Generation Award, given to a second- or third-generation operation “excelling at leading a family business.”
In 2014, the Kempens shifted from their manufacturing jobs into ownership of CARSTAR Pat’s Auto Body in Plover, Wis.—the shop owned by Tony Kempen’s uncle and aunt, and where Tony spent his childhood and teen years learning the industry.
After the successful transition, the Kempens purchased a second facility within 10 months, CARSTAR Eau Claire South in Eau Claire, Wis.
Saturday, CARSTAR vice president of operations Dean Fisher was emotional in presenting the Kempens with their award in front of a packed room of roughly 400 CARSTAR franchisees, executives and industry professionals.
The Kempens were equally taken back.
“This is really incredible, and unexpected,” Tony Kempen said.
“It’s a little hard to believe what’s happened in the last couple years,” Sharon Kempen added.
Franchisee of the Year
CARSTAR Jungerman in St. Peters, Mo., took home the company’s top honor on Saturday, being named Franchisee of the Year, which recognizes “the best of the best that is CARSTAR.”
Criteria includes vendor relations, industry impact, being image compliant, and key performance metrics.
CARSTAR Jungerman is owned by Kerry Woodson and Toni Donius.
Rookie of the Year
Erich Schmit is leading a new charge for CARSTAR, according to the company’s executive team. It netted him one award, the company’s Rookie of the Year honor, but the facility’s uniqueness goes two-fold.
As the shop manager for CARSTAR Friendly of Roselle in Roselle, Ill., Schmit’s facility is owned by an adjoining Ford dealership and is among the first in the network to become aluminum equipped. Both are major developments in the CARSTAR business model.
Business Group of the Year
CARSTAR Puget Sound Business Group was named the MSO’s Business Group of the Year. The 21-shop group shares best practices, vendor relationships, and region-wide marketing.
CARSTAR honored shops for achieving high levels in its “3Cs” key business metrics: closing ratio, cycle time and CSI.
The overall winner—the business that scored the highest in all three categories—was CARSTAR Kurt’s Collision in Maryville, Ill., which also had the company’s best overall key-to-key cycle time at 4.4 days. The company also has a closing ratio of 81.6 percent and a 92.1 CSI rating.
In the cycle time category, CARSTAR Ace Sullins in Miramar, Fla., was second, and CARSTAR 76 Collision in Grand Rapids, Mich., was third.
The company’s franchises with the top closing ratios were: 1) CARSTAR of Rayton in Rayton, Mo. (95 percent); 2) CARSTAR Highland Denver North of Denver (90.8 percent); and 3) CARSTAR Ideal Arvada Auto Body in Arvada, Colo. (88.6 percent).
Marketer of the Year—Individual
Tom Martin, owner of two CARSTAR facilities in Ohio, was named the company’s Marketer of the Year for his work in his local communities.
Martin, an industry-lifer who first worked in a shop full-time at age 15, is a member of the United Way, past board president of his local Chamber of Commerce, a Rotary Club member, and involved in Big Brothers & Big Sisters.
His marketing philosophy is “Be everywhere you can be, so they know you when they need you.”
Martin owns CARSTAR Sydney Body in Sidney, Ohio, and CARSTAR Troy in Troy, Ohio.
Marketer of the Year—Business Group
The Marketer of the Year award for business groups went to CARSTAR Colorado Business Group, which has 11 stores in its market.
The group’s marketing efforts—which include a number of different radio, online and TV campaigns—have led to double-digit sales growth.
Mitchell and ESurance also presented separate awards, honoring CARSTAR facilities for specific metrics.