2023 Award Runner-Up: Aaron Glaser

Sept. 25, 2023
Aaron Glaser has worked tirelessly to uphold the family business.

Making things that are broken whole again; carrying the family name; these are the things that motivate Aaron Glaser, the owner of Glaser’s Collision Centers in Louisville, Kentucky.

Growing up and watching his parents work hard and make sacrifices to build their auto shop, Glaser’s passion for working with vehicles only became stronger as his parents’ business evolved from a general automotive shop into the collision repair facility it is today.

As a runner-up for this year’s FenderBender award, Glaser gave us a look into how he became the owner of what is now a multi-location staple of the Louisville area.

Natural-Born Technician

Glaser’s father grew up in the home of a construction worker but loved working on cars and decided to open his shop. He performed most of the mechanical and bodywork, while Glaser’s mother did interior work and overlooked finances.

As a child growing up in the shop, Glaser’s affinity for mechanical work started from an early age.

“When I was a kid hanging out in the shop, I took my bike apart and painted my bicycle. Then some of the neighborhood kids wanted their bikes painted, so–hell, I was probably 10, 12 years old, I was painting bicycles for my buddies,” Glaser remembers.

Soon after, at 14 years old, Glaser’s father had him work in one of the paint booths in his shop, doing custom paintwork. Glaser genuinely enjoyed the work he was doing in the shop and felt a sense of accomplishment from the final product.

“Taking something that's ugly and, you know, putting time and effort into it and having something beautiful when you're done–it just always appealed to me,” Glaser says.

After graduating high school, Glaser earned a degree in business and returned to work in the family business to help them as they expanded, working alongside his parents until around four years ago when they retired.

As of now, Glaser’s Collision Centers have expanded to four locations, placed around the Louisville area in what Glaser describes as a diamond shape, making them a known name in the local market.

Learning to Be a Leader

As Glaser has played a more dominant role within his family’s business, his job has become less about solely fixing cars, but also about making sure everything is set in place to make the business run smoothly. From working with his staff to recruiting new team members to communicating with insurance companies and customers, it’s become more than just the cars, but also about all the people involved with the process of repairing them.

“Whether it's training, whether it's educating, you know, whether it's motivating, whether it's, you know, trying to build the culture, my job is to help make my people successful,” Glaser explains. “If I do that, we all win.”

This has been a constant learning experience for Glaser as he always strives to improve as a shop owner. He believes that by creating a positive and encouraging work environment, people will enjoy their time there and put in a genuine effort to help the business succeed. When people feel appreciated, they work harder.

One way Glaser shows support is by investing in educating his staff on changes that happen in the shop. Rather than bringing in a new expensive piece of equipment and leaving his technicians to figure it out, he will arrange for representatives from the manufacturer to come in and demonstrate how the new machine functions.

In an effort to constantly learn how to better serve his team and to improve, Glaser and the managers and leaders of his stores will come together to network with other shops to learn from them and share ideas as well. His shops also implement mentorships between senior techs and entry-level techs to help them confidently enter their new career.

Part of being a shop owner and supporting his team is realizing the effect his own attitude can have on his team and working to always be a source of positivity within his shop, regardless of what he may be having to handle outside of it.

Providing for the Next Generation

As he continues to strive for improvement and to cultivate a great work environment, Glaser is motivated by upholding the legacy of his parents’ name that hangs on the sign outside every one of his stores as he remembers the work his parents put into creating the business.

“Growing up and seeing that and watching that, it just, you know, it makes you want to–or made me at least–want to do the same thing, you know,” Glaser says. “[I] want to make them proud and continue to do the things they’ve done.”

As his oldest son comes out of high school and begins to work with the family business, Glaser currently plans for his business to remain in the Louisville area but hopes to provide the best possible foundation for the third generation of Glaser’s Collision Centers.

About the Author

Kacey Frederick

Kacey Frederick is an assistant editor for Endeavor Business Media's Vehicle Repair Group.

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