Shop Profile - Collision Repair

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Caught in the act

Treating people right steers path to prosperity for award-winning family business
Friday, April 12, 2013 - 13:52
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Spreading the word
Advertising is accomplished via mailers, email referrals, a social media presence and supporting local athletics with team and banner sponsorships along with handbook ads. “It’s great when the kids yell out, ‘go Marshall’s Auto,’” says Marshall.

“We implemented the “Donate to Educate” program in which we donate $25 per repair to the PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) of the customer’s choice,” he continues. We use Facebook, both in business and personally, to promote name recognition and events. However, in a world of electronic saturation, we still believe in touching our customers and (insurance) agents personally through community organizations and agent recognition.”

The company belongs to six civic organizations and contributes to numerous other endeavors, including the Make a Wish carwash and other charities. Marshall travels to assist “the CARSTAR nation” as chairman of the iPods For Wounded Veterans program. “During the month of November we raised tens of thousands of dollars to bring to the severely injured troops in hospitals like Walter Reed and others like it across the United States.”

Marshall also serves as chairman for local vocational school’s auto body repair segment and sits on the institution’s finance committee member. He was inducted into the Shawsheen Valley Technical High School Hall of Fame in 2012. In 2008 Marshall was named CARSTAR’s “Rookie of the Year” as 2011 brought “Most Improved Shop” honors; last year he clinched the “Financial Focus Group Award.”

Family business
The business was established at the family home in the latter part of the 1970s by his late father Malcom, who had four days of in a row due to his position as a fulltime firefighter. Subsequently outgrowing the home’s garage, in 1978 they constructed a 1,400 square-foot building at the current location over on Pond Street. After five additions the structure covered 5,000 sq. ft.; in 2005 they building and installed a new paint booth and prep station.

“The original shop was at our house, so after school it was an easy fit into the family mix. I attended a vocational high school and took automotive repair. This would allow me to know all ends of the automobile,” Marshall recalls.

He started in the family business as a helper and then progressed to refinish prep. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, Marshall retuned home and became a painter. Five years later he was shop foreman and a minor partner with Malcom. The younger Marshall bought the entire business in 1995.

Keeping the peace at Thanksgiving dinner amid a family in business together was easy, says Marshall, as Malcom left no doubt that “HE WAS THE BOSS.” Marshall’s wife Dawn is the company’s bookkeeper. “We also brainstorm marketing ideas, discuss business strategies and attend financial focus group meetings and annual conferences together. I’m the boss at the shop, my wife is the boss at home.”

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