MAIN LOCATION: Goletta, Calif. PRESIDENT: Rene Koke SIZE: 24,000 square feet STAFF: 47 (12 front office, 35 shop floor) AVERAGE MONTHLY CAR COUNT: 220 ANNUAL REVENUE: $10 million (2 locations combined)
1. PRISTINE PALM TREES
Peter Romero knows it sounds rather absurd, considering most of his customers have just been in car accidents. Nevertheless, the vibe he tries to present at the larger of Prestigious Auto Body & Painting’s two locations is zen-like.
And, the general manager wants the southern Californian body shop to stand out from the crowd. That helps explain the pristine, manicured palm trees that dot the facility’s parking lot.
“You’ve got to take the status quo and flip it,” Romero says of running a body shop. “I want to be the guy selling the best steak on the block. I want customers leaving here remembering me.”
2. PINING FOR COMFORT
Sticking with the theme of relaxation, Prestigious’ main location in Goleta, Calif., features a rustic interior of its customer waiting area that’s highlighted by cedar pine accents. In fact, the smell of pine greets customers upon arrival to the facility.
“Customers come in, and what’s the first thing they think of at a body shop—dirty, dusty, right?” says Romero, whose workplace boasts a 95 percent CSI score. “The whole idea here is for them to enter our facility with the impression like, ‘Wow,’ and they’re caught off guard. It kind of gives them a zen feeling.”
3. EXPANSIVE OFFICE AREA
The California repair business, which has attained roughly a dozen certifications since 2017, largely utilizes an open desk area. That fosters communication among employees.
“It’s an open space, (so) everyone can communicate,” Romero notes. “There’s no, ‘Let me talk to you and whisper.’ We’re in an open environment, which brings us all together. If I have a writer that has a question, they’ll just look back at me and ask.”
The Goleta property, which featured a bus depot in the 1970s, also includes a second floor office area that has a conference room and 1,000 square feet of office space for company executives.
4. ALUMINUM READY
Prestigious Auto Body & Painting features no shortage of state-of-the-art elements on its shop floor. But what sets the Goleta facility apart from the pack is the fact it’s the only aluminum-certified body shop in its county. That means the shop features an “aluminum clean room,” Romero says. That 20-by-20-foot room is quartered off from other bay areas.
That dedicated aluminum repair area “is basically everything that Audi, Ford, and all the manufacturers state that we need to do (for aluminum repair),” Romero says, “from an extracting machine, to the bench being isolated. Everything that we need is in there.”