Ray's CARSTAR Auto Body, located at 137 Terryville Rd, Bristol, CT, is proud to celebrate 30th year of business.
Owner of this longstanding facility, Steve Merchant, has always enjoyed anything having to do with cars. With his dad owning the repair facility, Steve was able to start his career in the industry at the age of 15, sweeping floors and cleaning cars.
“I was always determined to make this my career, because there really is nothing like taking a vehicle that has been damaged in a collision and repairing it to become a road worthy,” says Steve Merchant.
At the age of 34, Steve’s family-owned collision repair business joined the newly created CARSTAR network. Founded by Lirel Holt, CARSTAR was a franchise network, dedicated to helping these family run collision repair facilities, provide best-in-class service and repairs to its communities. However, the early days of CARSTAR, did not come without obstacles.
“Lirel’s perspective was refreshing and we were eager to become a part of a like-minded community, which kept us motivated to persevere even through the beginning years when unforeseen challenges came our way,” comments Steve. “CARSTAR was new so not everybody knew us yet, we had a fire that devastated our facility in 1990 that nearly cost us our business and we had to overcome the retirements from some longstanding and beloved employees.”
Through all of these struggles, having the support of the CARSTAR community behind him is something Steve has always valued.
“The relationships we forged and the sense of community within CARSTAR is like no other,” says Steve. “This helps us be leaders in our own cities because our standard of work within CARSTAR is set so high.”
Happiest when he receives compliments about his facility’s work, Steve prioritizes the customer experience and repair quality above all else.
“My team works tremendously hard to be sure every customer is treated with premier service in addition to receiving best-in-class repairs,” Steve continues. “When customers tell us they are happy with our services, it just reaffirms all of our hard work is worth it.”
Now, 30 years later, Steve looks back fondly at his 30 years with CARSTAR, while still looking forward to the future of the industry alongside his new business partner, Michael Ferrucci.
“With consolidation persisting in the collision repair industry, we know we have to expand our operations in order to compete in this ever-changing landscape and be open to more change as vehicles get more technologically advanced,” continues Steve. “My best advice to other small business owners – in any industry – is to be open, embrace new opportunities, and prepare to grow alongside change.”
Growth in times of adversity, learning from past challenges and facing new opportunities with clear goals are some of Steve’s most recognized attributes, helping him reach this 30th anniversary milestone.
“We have some exciting times ahead of us here at Ray’s CARSTAR Auto Body, and I know we could not have made it to 30 years without the support of our community – so thank you, Bristol Connecticut, for your continued trust and support.”
For more information on CARSTAR, visit CARSTAR.com.
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