March 29 is Mom and Pop Business Day: Meet the Stander family of Denver

March 29, 2022
With generations of success in collision repair, Soap Box Derby and service to the community set the Stander family apart from the competition

High-quality repairs, great customer service and the soap box derby are hallmarks of the Stander family's collision repair business. For National Mom and Pop Business Day on March 29, founder Jerry Stander reflected on building and managing a family business.

“I’ve been repairing automobiles since my high school days,” Stander said. “In the 1970s, I started repairing
damaged cars (mostly brand-new BMWs) out of my family home garage. Soon after, in February of 1983, my wife Bernie and I established Jerry Stander’s Auto Body in Littleton, Colorado. In 1997, we had the opportunity to purchase land and build a facility of our own for the future. The rest is history.”

The Standers' philosophy has always included working with others inside and outside the industry to help solve simple and complex business problems. The Automotive Service Association (ASA), the Automotive Management Institute (AMI), and I-CAR have been some of the organizations used to help increase business networking and create training programs for the shop and staff.

In the early 2000s, a massive Denver market consolidation started to take place. The family decided to join Fix Auto USA in 2006 as Fix Auto Highlands Ranch. Fix Auto USA helped the Stander family organization connect with other operators with the same business mindset and values. This led to joining a Fix Auto Business Development 20 Group and various business advisory councils.

Jerry and Bernie Stander realize their success would not be possible without their staff. Their team is one big family and they see very little turnover among their staff. Continuing the legacy, youngest son Dan has joined the team as the general manager, while his brother Bob works as the production manager.

“We work to help everyone get the training and certifications they need to deliver great repairs,” Stander said. “Professional, safe, and quality repairs have always been the culture for us at Fix Auto Highlands Ranch.”

Fix Auto Highlands Ranch has been I-CAR Gold Class-recognized for more than 16 years, with many of the staff obtaining platinum status. Fix Auto Highlands Ranch became the first shop in Colorado to become “Honda ProFirst Collision Repair Certified.” Along the journey, they have also worked with Subaru to become “Subaru Collision Certified,” and they are currently working with other manufacturers to obtain additional OEM certifications. They have partnered with Verifacts Automotive, which helps them continually improve through spot vehicle inspections and verifying the facility is up-to-date with shop equipment and procedures. These training and certification programs provide the groups and coaches that helped Fix Auto Highlands Ranch provide a great culture of customer service, repair training and OEM procedures.

Alongside the repair culture, it has always been important for Fix Auto Highlands Ranch to be involved in the community.

“The Sertoma Mile High Soap Box Derby has been near and dear to our hearts,” said Stander. “We have been involved since 2008 and it has been incredibly rewarding. It all began when I was asked to build the starting ramps and it has evolved from there. I’ve built various classes of race cars, trailers, the starting line, the finish line and everything in between. The shop is home base for the local ‘Mile High Soap Box Derby’ club. Many meetings and fund raisers are held at our facility, along with clinics where racers and families build their soap box race cars.”

Fix Auto Highlands Ranch is also involved in the local Rotary Chapter. Through Rotary, the Fix Auto family has enjoyed many service projects, including making and serving meals at the Ronald McDonald House, serving meals at the Denver Rescue Mission, assembling and delivering Thanksgiving baskets to home-bound people for the Interfaith Task Force, and helping at local food banks. Fix Auto Highlands Ranch is thankful and grateful for their community and industry involvement.

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