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Our New Web Site Debuts!

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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.

It’s official: I am now a blogger.

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When we re-launched our newly designed Web site on April 14, I joined millions of others who use the Internet to convey their thoughts and feelings to the masses. It was truly a special occasion.

I remember 25 years ago when I plunked down $900 of my hard-earned paper route money for my first personal computer, a Commodore 64. At the time, there was no Internet, but even if there had been, I wouldn’t have been interested in blogging or socializing in chat rooms. No, I was a mischievous 11-year-old, and I had only one main reason for buying my own computer: to hack into the FBI’s computer system.

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You see, the movie “War Games” starring Matthew Broderick as a young man who hacks into a military central computer and almost starts World War III had just come out and inspired young hooligans all over the country to attempt to do the same. But try as I might, I could not breach our country’s intelligence network. Perhaps that’s why I’m writing  you today from a sunny office and not some dark, cold prison with a cellmate named Rufus breathing down my neck. I was, however, able to make a hot air balloon float across the screen after typing enough lines of computer code to make even Bill Gates’ head spin. See, with my purchase of the Commodore 64, I received a free one-year subscription to Commodore 64 magazine, and every issue contained lines of code you could type in to either create some video game or make some other cool graphic effect … if you call a balloon floating across a screen cool. I’m still haunted by its image … and my decision to buy a Commodore 64 instead of $900 of Apple Computer stock.

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But the past is the past, and today I bask in the glory of being able to offer all of you a new and improved Web site that is yet one more tool to help empower you with the knowledge you need to run a profitable business. The Web site is the product of the hard work of the entire BodyShop Business staff, and I cannot thank them enough for having a vision, executing it and living our mission statement of helping body shop owners conquer their everyday business challenges.

So what’s new? For starters, the new Web site involves you! Signing up for our community gives you a chance to comment on anything you read – the BodyShop Business Blog, feature articles, letters to the editor or news. Joining our community also allows you to participate in our Custom Showcase, where you can show off photos of cars you’ve customized or restored.

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We recognize that the Internet has turned many of us all into “newshounds” searching out up-to-the-minute news updates. When searching for the latest news on the collision repair industry, look no further than the very top of our home page, which will feature the latest breaking news updated daily.

Myself and Managing Editor Michael T. Peltier know that only part of our jobs involve sitting behind a desk. We’re dedicated to covering industry events and visiting body shops all over the country to keep our fingers on the pulse of the collision repair community, and now we’ll chronicle our travels for all to see in our “From the Field” section. Whether it’s a Society of Collision Repair Specialists meeting or a visit to a shop in Houston, Minn., we’ll report on what’s going on in the real world and keep you connected to your fellow repairers via written articles, photos and video interviews.

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We designed the site to be easy to use, and we trust you’ll find that this is the case. A lefthand navigation bar leaves you just one click away from all the vital information you need. Our “Reference Shelf” includes the latest industry legislative efforts, statistics, State of the Industry report, a comprehensive list of trade associations, and more. Searching for an article you read in a bygone issue of BodyShop Business? Find it under either “Business Center” or “Tech Center,” where past articles are categorized by subject matter. You’ll also find the current issue and previous issue on display for your perusal.

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We put a lot of thought and hard work into the site, but ultimately it’s up to you to decide whether it serves your needs. I encourage you to send me feedback. Is there something we’re missing? Did you not find something you were looking for? The site is by no means complete and will constantly evolve, so your input is crucial for us to constantly refine it and make it the ultimate one-stop shop for collision repair information. Happy surfing!

E-mail comments to [email protected]

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