Looking Back – The Body Shop Story

Kent Forman

This July we will observe the seventh anniversary of Forman Collision Centre. Today this division of the Forman Auto Centre has eight bays, a brand-new state-of-the-art paint booth, nine employees and completes over one thousand vehicle repairs per year. It is hard to imagine now, but for many years Forman Honda operated without a body shop.

Forman Collision had very humble beginnings. In early 2007 when new and used car sales were experiencing very strong growth, I became frustrated with the process of getting our own vehicles repaired at other body shops in town. As you can imagine, many of the fine vehicles that we take on trade and wish to sell on our lot to future customers need minor cosmetic repairs. And of those, a small portion actually needs major body work.

Although we had developed a good working relationship with a couple of local independent body shops in town, they were frequently too busy to get our cars through as quickly as we needed. So I decided to open a small body shop of my own. There happened to be a small building on Pacific Ave that formerly had been an independent body shop, so I made a deal to rent the building, hired some staff, and we were in operation by July. Though the location was very inconvenient- being located on the other side of the city from the dealership was a logistical hurdle – we made it work. I should have counted the number of times I drove back and forth from the dealership to the body shop in those years as I dealt with everything from accounting and admin issues, equipment issues and to just simply pick up and deliver vehicles.

forman collision - before

At the onset my idea was that we would just look after our own vehicles, and maybe some of our own customers who sought us out by word of mouth. But I had seriously underestimated both the amount of body work needed in our community, and the loyalty that Honda owners feel toward our shop. We were too small from the day we opened. Almost immediately, I began planning for a larger shop. The ideal location would be in the building right next to Forman Honda. At that time, the two main tenants were Forman Power Division (which I would sell a few years later – bikes really not being my thing – to make room for a new Mazda franchise) and a local hot-tub store. I knew that the hot tub store was looking for a different location and would likely move out soon, so I decided to move the Power Division store to that location – a much better space for bikes and quads – and redevelop the current Power Division space into a body shop.

forman collision - before

When the renovation project was completed in July of 2009, I knew I had made the right decision. We had gone from a dark, cramped and distant shop to a newly-renovated, wide open, brilliantly illuminated autobody repair facility. And the best thing… it was right next door to the dealership making it much easier to service both our own vehicles and those of our customers.

Now, as we near the end of our seventh year in business, I am proud of what we have achieved, and the service we have to offer. Constant attention to quality and a continuous emphasis on improvement has resulted in an extremely high calibre of work and timeliness. So, while I sincerely hope that you do not ever have the need for the services of Forman Collision Centre, please know that we are here to serve you if that day does come. Our goal is to minimize your inconvenience, and provide you with the best repair services available.

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