Advanced Collision Solutions is the very definition of growing a business from the ground up. What started as an empty lot on the outskirts of Russellville is now a thriving automotive collision repair enterprise.
Richard Shilling had a vision for the lot in 2005 and recruited Dwane Ahrens to manage the budding business. “I left Cogswell Motors after 17 years with them and teamed up with Richard,” Ahrens said. “We started cleaning the blank piece of property in 2005 and opened in February of 2006.”
Eleven years later Advanced Collision Solutions is still going strong. Providing River Valley residents with a multitude of vehicle services. His response to being asked if it felt like 11 years was, “do you see all of this gray hair?” He added that, “it isn’t easy but we have a fun time.”
Advanced Collision Solutions is currently looking to expand on four acres of land that connects to the current location. Ahrens said they are in need of more working space to keep up with production. “We need more space to get more cars in because we are booked at all times,” Ahrens said. “I need to add more personnel so we can continue to take care of the public’s needs.”
The business provides repair services for: automotive, recreational vehicles, fiberglass restorations, motorcycle, heavy truck repair, paint jobs as well as reflex truck liners.
The shop won’t turn away any job.
“We’ve had patrons come by wanting lawn furniture painted,” Ahrens said.
“We will do just about any spray or liner job. By building a relationship with people, they will come back when they need collision work done. And that’s our whole theme, taking care of the customer. So if it involves paint we can usually do it.”
Eleven people make up the Advanced Collision Solutions team. “We have three people working in the paint department and everyone else works in the body department,” Ahrens said. “I have a good group of guys, they all laugh, cutup and get along. It’s a fun place to hangout.”
All of the employees are Gold Class certified and stay up to date on the latest technology. “For certification we either travel to workshops or bring people in to train our employees on location,” Ahrens said. “You just build on each segment. It’s not a one-time certification. New cars are always bringing something new to the table.”
The repair shop is open Monday through Friday and a half-day on Saturday. “Saturdays I come in a half a day for customers who can’t get off work,” Ahrens said. “Take care of them; get them scheduled or delivered, whatever we need to do.”
For Ahrens it’s not about the sale, but building a long-term relationship with clients. Being in the business for thirty years, it is easy to see how treating customers like family comes second nature to Ahrens. “If they have any issues, guarantee it and take care of it for them,” Ahrens said. “That’s always been my drive, to make someone happy. There are times when you’ll lose, but you take care of the customer. Just like our logo says, ‘you bend them, we mend them.’ It doesn’t matter what it is, we’ll try to take care of it.”