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Auto Craft Collision Repair

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Auto Craft Collision Repair

SHOP: Auto Craft Collision Repair   LOCATION: Wichita, Kan. (Eastside, 1 of 7 locations)  OWNER: J.R. Sartain  SIZE: 15,000 square feet STAFF: 13 (7 technicians, 1 location manager, 1 parts manager, 1 receptionist, 1 repair planner, 1 repair process manager, 1 owner) ANNUAL REVENUE: $4.5 million

1) At Auto Craft Collision Repair’s location on the east side of Wichita, Kan., the facility’s eye-catching features start the second customers reach the business’s property line. 

Owner J.R. Sartain spent $192,000 combined last year on landscaping for all of his stores, taking great care to choose elements like native grass and stones in an attempt to give his shop ample curbside appeal.

2) The lobby at that shop features a video board that typically displays information about Auto Craft, plus plush chairs, kitchen amenities, and complimentary drinks for customers. Employees wear name tags that note their hometown. 

“Our lobby, it’s like walking into a new hotel lobby,” says Jaden Randle, Auto Craft’s vice president of marketing and sales.

3) Sartain and his staff are believers in the 5S workplace organization method and its emphasis on a safe, efficient shop. In that spirit, the location on the east side of Wichita recently added a dustless sanding system -- the Total Automotive Sanding System from 3M and Festool. That product is designed for technician safety, collecting dust before it’s dispersed into the air. Sartain says the system also extends the life of sandpaper, and leads to reduced rework. 

Sartain says he takes great care in “making sure the environment in which the employees are working is safe.”

4) Sartain recently added nearly 5,000 square feet to the facility in a renovation project focused on the paint department. Another booth was added and three more prep stations were created in 2015. 

Now the shop, which employs two experienced paint technicians, is running a pair of paint booths, and the additional work space has increased efficiency; the paint crew arrives at work around 5 a.m. and is done by 2:30 p.m. Adding the additional USI booth cost approximately $120,000. Sartain says the shop also saw an upgrade via a Walcom ThermoDry auto painting system, which aims for high application speed, as well as the elimination of solid and gaseous impurities.

5) Auto Craft has seven locations (six in Kansas, and one in Tulsa, Okla.), and this facility’s bold signage, produced by Kansas company George Lay Signs Inc., is emblematic of the MSO’s overall effort to brand itself in attention-grabbing fashion.

“We tend to separate ourselves with branding,” notes Randle, who has been with Auto Craft for 21 years. “We’re visible at every major corner in Wichita.”

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