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New services available: Body shop settles into new building

By SUSAN BERG

Staff writer

It’s more than just fixing fenders and replacing windshields.

For Arlie and Gina Overton, owners of Arlie’s Paint Body & Glass, it’s making the customer feel comfortable about having his or her vehicle repaired by them.

“Before we started this business, we had inferior body work done on our personal vehicles,” Arlie Overton said. “We know what it’s like to be a customer and to not be satisfied.”

Five years ago, the Marion couple decided it was time to provide quality body repairs at fair prices and bought Marion Body Shop.

Within a few years, it was apparent that there was more work than space in the downtown building, so the Overtons decided to expand to the city’s industrial park.

Since July 21, the body shop has operated from a state-of-the-art facility.

There are a total of five full-time employees (including themselves) and two part-time, and they are looking for another full-time worker.

When a customer walks into the front of the building, he or she is greeted with an attractive and comfortable waiting area.

“The majority (78 percent) of our customers are women,” Overton said. “We want to make sure all of our customers are comfortable while waiting.”

The work area is 9,000 square feet and designed with seven bays, a paint booth, and a special area for commercial vehicles.

“At the downtown shop we had a tough time working on large vehicles. We had to remove the hoods to get them in the door,” Overton said.

That’s not a problem at the new shop. The sidewalls are 16 feet tall and the roll-up doors can accommodate nearly any type of vehicle. And there’s a market for that type of body repair.

“We have the potential to do as much semi truck work as regular collision,” Overton said.

Mistakes are made in body shops because workers can’t see what they’re doing, Overton said, “so, we doubled the lighting.”

Overton found another way to serve the needs of customers.

Many of the Overtons’ customers needed new tailpipes and mufflers as part of the repair but had difficulty finding a local business that could accommodate him. So, he now sells stock exhaust systems and can make customized systems.

“There’s a computer program available where a customer’s vehicle can be plugged in and the customer can actually listen to what the muffler is going to sound like,” Gina Overton said.

Arlie’s Paint Body & Glass also offers a lifetime guarantee on the exhaust system.

By doing some of the work on-site, Arlie Overton said his business can continue to make money and customers are saving money.

“You can’t beat that,” he said.

How has the location worked out since the big move from downtown?

Business has nearly doubled.

“We have more traffic out here than we had downtown,” Arlie Overton said. “Normally August and September are slow but we’ve been really busy.”

“And it’s not even deer season yet,” Gina Overton said, with a smile.

They have customers from the Marion area, Herington, Canton, Galva, McPherson, Peabody, Burns, and Walton, to name a few.

Overton and his crew also are certified to replace body parts per manufacturers’ requirements.

To be certified, the company and its employees have to follow recommendations set out by the car manufacturers including equipment used to replace the parts and employees being certified in welding and painting. Overton said he invested in a spot welder to do repair work per factory requirements.

Regardless of whether the job is a factory repair or not, the work has to be the best possible.

“We know when a vehicle leaves here, it was done right even though the customer may not know the difference. We do,” Overton said.

The past five years in the traditional body shop was a great start for the couple, Overton said, and it gave him an idea of what was needed in a new building.

So, this building has all of the necessary accommodations for a successful body shop.

Last modified Oct. 8, 2008

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