CARSTAR announced that Paul Struhar of CARSTAR Centerline in Strongsville, Ohio, celebrated his 25th anniversary as a body shop owner in April. Struhar, who began his career in the collision industry while in high school, credits his longevity in the business to great technicians and the support of CARSTAR.
“I went to vocational school while I was in high school and knew this would be my career path,” said Struhar. “When I became a body shop owner, the two things I knew I wanted to do was continue to work with vocational schools to develop talent and become a CARSTAR franchisee. I couldn’t imagine doing this without CARSTAR; the networking and benefits from being part of the brand is unbelievable.
“The first thing I remember about becoming part of CARSTAR in the early 1990s was the three-ring binder they gave us to get started. Now, the partnerships they help create, the DRP business, the continued education and the incentives they provide help us stay one step above the competition.”
Struhar is passionate about helping young technicians, working with three local vocational schools and promoting from within. He provides entry-level shadowing for students, tours of the shop for classes and product demonstrations with partners like 3M. He hires the majority of his new employees from the local schools and takes pride in mentoring them as they continue to grow as technicians. In fact, he is still great friends with his vocational teacher from high school and considers him a second father.
CARSTAR Centerline is also a family business. His son, Paul Jr., is the shop’s production manager and his daughter handles the accounting. But Struhar treats everyone as if they’re part of the family business.
“I’ve been in the shoes of our employees and appreciate what they do,” said Struhar. “I know the importance of rewarding them for the work that they do and providing them with a spotless and top-notch work environment. You can’t have a good business without good employees. You can’t be afraid to spend money on them; it helps you build an experienced and cohesive team of employees. We are like one big family here.”
Struhar has expanded CARSTAR Centerline several times since 1992, including a 9,400-square-foot addition in December 2014. The current location is now a sprawling 18,000 square feet with 24 employees and a high retention rate. The shop is I-CAR Gold and ASE certified, has OE certifications with several manufacturers like Honda, Infinity, Chrysler, Jeep and GM, and is a preferred shop for most major insurance partners like State Farm, Nationwide and Allstate.
Struhar and his employees are also active in the community. They support local youth sports, are part of the Chamber of Commerce and host local food events.
“At the end of the day, I enjoy working in the shop as much today as I did in high school,” said Struhar. “I love training and mentoring the next generation of technicians and leaving a legacy for my kids and family.”