Day 1 at Nagy's: Late for Work - BodyShop Business
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Day 1 at Nagy’s: Late for Work

BodyShop Business Editor Jason Stahl starts his week-long work experience at Nagy’s Collision Specialists in Northeastern Ohio.

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Jason Stahl has 28 years of experience as an editor, and has been editor of BodyShop Business for the past 16 years. He currently is a gold pin member of the Collision Industry Conference. Jason, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from John Carroll University and started his career in journalism at a weekly newspaper, doing everything from delivering newspapers to selling advertising space to writing articles.

The alarm goes off. I stare at the clock disbelievingly. 5:45. I can’t remember the last time I had to get up before 6 a.m. for work.

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Only when I’m lacing up my steel-toed work boots does it sink in that I’m not going to be sitting at a desk all day. I will not be staring out the window of my office at fluffy clouds drifting by or deer prancing around. I will be doing hard time in the dirty confines of a body shop. Today, it’s Nagy’s Collision Specialists’ location in Wadsworth, Ohio.

When I arrive 45 minutes late due to my shameful reliance on Mapquest, I am dutifully served a pink late slip to document my tardiness. This is standard procedure, says Tammy the Office Manager, and so it must be done. Nagy’s relies on standard operating procedures to ensure consistency across all six of its stores.

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So it’s time for introductions. Tammy and I have already become acquainted, and she is so nice I have forgotten all about the pink slip. The rest of the team includes:

“Boomer” – assistant manager, been in the business forever

Rich – body tech, 38 years old, 20 years experience

Kevin – frame tech, 35 years old, 18 years experience

Ed – head painter, mid-30s

Travis – painter’s helper, mid-20s

Stevie – detailer, 20 years old

Stevie intrigues me. He is the future of the industry. I ask him why he got into collision repair, and he said it runs in the family. “My dad builds race cars,” he said.

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This is a good team, Tammy says. They all get along and work hard. The shop does around $1.5 million in gross sales and cranks out 40-60 cars per month. Few walk-ins, mostly insurance referrals. Life is good in Wadsworth.

Ed sicks me on a Dodge Caliber hood. I prep the underside for paint with a scratch pad, then flip it over and do the top with a power sander.

When I break for lunch, I notice two things: my back and feet hurt, probably because I’m not used to standing all day at work, and I can taste degreaser in my mouth. I hope it doesn’t spoil lunch…and it doesn’t.

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Vice President and Owner Dan Nagy pays us a surprise visit in the afternoon. I get to witness an informal interview with a prospective employee who might be able to help out at the store. Apparently the man used to work at Nagy’s, so the team seems confident he could be a good addition to the Wadsworth family.

Tomorrow is another adventure. I will put in more time at the Wadsworth store, then after lunch head to the Doylestown location, which Tammy says for some unexplained reason gets a ton of walk-ins. This is the store that Dave Nagy, father of Ron and Dan, opened in 1973. This is the store that started it all. And it’s the largest in the family.

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