Products: New-Size Punching Dies for Bumper Hole Kit
“Boutique” body shop offers art for sale, follows lean principles and strives to earn a return customer through “first-time quality.”
LJI Collision Centers, owned by Lauren Angie and Jill Strauss, has opened a second location four years after opening its first store in Orange, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. The second store is located 20 minutes away from the first store in Cleveland Heights and is the original location of the body shop Michael Giarrizzo Sr., Angie and Strauss’s father, opened in the 1960s.
Inside the shop, a sign reads, “LJI Boutique…and we fix cars too!” This is due to hand-wrought jewelry, an assortment of different-shaped fused glassworks, photo greeting cards, pottery and other art crafted by local artists that they display and put up for sale in their customer reception area. It provides the shop something unique that no other area shop has.
Production-wise, the shop runs a lean model where employees are paid hourly, work on teams and share tools. Tools are hung neatly on shadow boards, and paint prep supplies are organized on mobile carts. Flat-screen production monitors throughout the shop indicate job progress. Vehicles undergo a complete teardown prior to production to ensure that all parts are ordered and nothing is missed. Areas on the production floor are outlined in different colors to indicate what stage a vehicle is currently in. When parts arrive, they are mirror matched to ensure they are correct.
“In our world, we are striving to earn a return customer through first-time quality,” says co-owner Lauren Angie. “We put every effort up front in the disassembly process to get it right the first time which, at the end of the day, saves time. We are recognizing all of the damage. When it goes into production, we’ve verified the parts by opening the box and matching them.”
Adds co-owner Jill Strauss, “Building confidence through consistent communication is our priority.”
The shop is also immaculate, with no filler dust anywhere due to a vacuum system that sucks up dust as a technician power sands. If employees hand sand, they are required to vacuum the dust immediately after the task. A state-of-the-art spraybooth costing well over $100,000 has given the shop maximum efficiency in the paint department.