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Collision Repair Tricks and Treats that Keep on Giving

Overcoming the tricks that sometimes come with running a business requires anticipating what could happen and then planning for those scenarios.

Tom Martin is the owner of three CARSTAR locations in Ohio – CARSTAR Sidney, CARSTAR Troy and CARSTAR Piqua. He started working in a collision repair shop at 15, then went on to purchase the business. He joined CARSTAR in 2003 with his first location. He opened his second CARSTAR location in 2014 and a third in 2019. He has long been a champion of advanced technology and also training for his team. He also donates his time to a variety of volunteer organizations, veterans in need, the homeless and youth sports. He can be reached at [email protected]

When you have children and grandkids, trick-or-treat season is exciting – the costumes, the parties and, of course, the candy. With my eight grandchildren, it’s a big event!

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As a business owner, tricks aren’t quite as thrilling, but the treats are certainly more rewarding. With three CARSTAR locations in Sidney, Troy and Piqua, Ohio, I occasionally have tricky situations or scary moments.

My Scariest Moment

Perhaps my scariest moment in business was three years ago. One night, I looked at the camera feed from my CARSTAR Troy store on my phone and saw it was full of smoke. Then there was my growing anxiety during the 20-minute drive from home to the store. Arriving there and seeing fire trucks and smoke pouring out of the building was terrifying. I still get choked up when I think about it.


I still get choked up when I think about [the fire].

My biggest blessing was that all my employees had already gone home before the fire started. I knew the building had no people in it and everything else could be replaced.

Positive Action

Overcoming the tricks that sometimes come with running a business requires anticipating what could happen and then planning for those scenarios. After the fire, I worked with my other CARSTAR locations and team members to create a plan to take care of the customers and get the facility rebuilt. We had 30 vehicles in the building, and fortunately only two had damage. The others just needed a thorough detailing. We shifted that work to the other locations and worked hard to get customers’ vehicles returned to them.


Then, we focused on rebuilding the facility. I’m grateful we had security cameras installed before the fire; after the event, we added a water suppression system throughout the building. We rebuilt the facility to be even better than before, and it was only a few years old. And I learned a lot more about our insurance policy through the process. Finally, I thanked my team members and the local fire department for all their help and support. It was amazing how everyone came together and did whatever was necessary.

Treats for Motivation

There are some treats that are better than candy. When a customer tells me that my staff did an excellent job both with great customer service and a high-quality repair, it makes my chest fill with pride. That actually happens quite often, and it tells me that my staff is doing all the correct things. This positive reinforcement and feedback motivate them to continue or exceed that level of service with the next customer.


Enjoy the treats – and always share them with your team.

At this stage of my life, my personal treats are when my wife Angela and I get to spend time with our eight grandchildren. Every one of them is special and a lot of fun. Being with them keeps things in perspective and reminds me what life is truly about.

Dressing for Halloween Success

I love to dress up for Halloween, so I’ve had many costumes over the years, some of which included accessories such as tutus and tap shoes. Some of my favorite costumes were ones a friend picked out for me, designed to make everyone laugh! Nothing makes the day and night more enjoyable than laughter.


So, as we approach Halloween this year, my advice is:

  • Plan for the tricks that may come your way – whether from Mother Nature in the form of a natural disaster, an unexpected fire or a major change in your business – and be prepared to address them with swift action and a positive attitude.
  • Enjoy the treats – and always share them with your team.
  • Don’t be afraid to wear a funny costume and be humble enough to let other folks laugh at you.

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