Shop Profile - Collision Repair

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Collision repair shop soars with approach to equipment, innovation and education

Monday, May 7, 2018 - 06:00
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Airport Road Auto Body consistently takes flight with the latest in collision repair technologies and techniques.

“We are a state-of-the-art facility, providing high quality workmanship,” says owner Tony Cavallaro Sr.

At a Glance:
Airport Road Auto Body Inc.
Hartford, Conn.
Tony Cavallaro Sr.
No. of shops
Years in business
No. of employees
No. of DRPs
Square footage of shop
Average repair order
5 days
Average cycle time
Average weekly volume
Paint Supplier
Frame machines used
Estimating sytem used

Having recently relocated to a 34,000 sq-ft. structure that previously housed a manufacturing plant for industrial electrical products, “We built the shop with the recommendations and feedback of some of our employees so that they can work more efficiently and effectively. I also provide continuous training to our employees so that they are provided with the knowledge they need to stay up to date on vehicle repairs and the industry.”

Pointing out that “teamwork begins with a positive and healthy work environment,” the operation is kept clean and organized amid a mindset of constant innovation.

It is the only Connecticut body shop certified to conduct aluminum repairs on Cadillacs, and is one of just two shops in the state carrying OEM certifications from Tesla, Jaguar and Range Rover. Volkswagen and BMW authorizations have been obtained as well.

“It’s been worth it,” Tony Sr. remarks, reflecting on the steady investments in education and equipment that he has been pursuing since establishing the business in 1983.

Tony Cavallaro Sr. and Tony Cavallaro Jr.

Starting out at age 23 with a staff of four and a lot of ambition, “It was at this time I began to teach myself how to improve my management skills and how to become more efficient in this business. My wife Rita, who was my girlfriend at the time, was alongside me from Day One, and together through trial and error we learned how to make this operation grow and prosper.”

Rita handles the bookkeeping and administrative tasks while son Tony Jr. assists with production as he prepares to eventually assume ownership.

“If he ever retires,” muses Tony Jr., noting his dad’s zeal grounded with an enthusiastic approach to navigating the turbulence and challenges that come with the territory of running a thriving business.

In December, the Cavallaro clan moved into its new facility over on Locust Street in historic Hartford, the Nutmeg State’s capital city, also known as the “Insurance Capital of the World” for its prominent presence of insurer headquarters buildings that dominate the skyline.

At present, Airport Road Auto Body is rebranding itself as Airport Auto, with Tony Jr. explaining that the area’s residents experience little confusion over the new Locust Street address. “Our brand is strong and our customer base is 30-to-34-years-deep,” he says. “We’re about a mile from the old location. The exit off the freeway is the same – it’s the Airport Road exit.”

When Tony Jr. joined the company in 2013, according to Tony Sr., “He brought with him new, fresher ideas and the drive needed to move forward towards growth. With that drive and determination, we have grown our business, and we felt we needed to expand.”

And what people now find upon entering differs considerably from what one might expect to see at a collision repair facility. “A lot of thought was put into making our lobby not look like a typical body shop, but more of a hotel reception area feel. We want all of our customers to feel welcome,” says Tony Sr.

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