Nestled in the mountains just northeast of San Bernardino, Calif., lives Showtime Collision Center, a body shop that works hard to offer its customers high-quality repairs.
Collision wasn’t in the original blueprint though. Originally, the shop opened as Showtime Custom Coach in October of 1986 in Running Springs, Calif.
With two generations of automotive excellence behind him, Mark Makeig and his wife, Lisa, along with her brother, Gilbert Nava, and their parents, Armando and Martha Nava, created the business to specialize in limousine manufacturing, specialty vehicle construction and vehicle armoring.
“The custom builds and projects evolved into automotive art, turning classic cars and automotive parts into furniture and decor, which are now displayed in our customer lounge,” said Tyler Makeig, son of Mark and Lisa who is now the general manager of the shop that he runs with the help of his wife, Erica.
Mark was in the collision industry prior to starting Showtime and both he and Lisa saw a practical need for high-quality collision repairs in their rural location. They took the opportunity at-hand and together built and expanded the business into the impressive two-acre, family-owned repair complex it is today.
“We are located in a rural, mountainous area of Southern California,” said Makeig. “Our facility is conveniently located in the middle of the major towns on the mountain, giving local residents a top-tier, quality choice for their collision repairs without having to travel a long distance.”
It isn’t just the quality of repairs that has played a factor in the shop’s success. Makeig also said that a big part of their success has been offering the convenience of being able to perform any repair, body or mechanical, on site with no sublet vendors required.
Another key factor to success for the shop – and how Showtime had managed to remain customers’ no. 1 choice over three decades – is the shop’s mindset about creating a silver lining for each of its customers.
“We have always been focused on giving our customers the ultimate experience possible,” Makeig said. “No one wants to need the services of a collision repair facility; we take it as a challenge and focus on turning their unfortunate situation that brought them to our facility into a positive experience.”
The shop has several DRP relationships with some larger insurance companies like Allstate, Farmers and AAA but also works with smaller ones like Mercury, California Collision and Kemper.
In addition to insurance relationships, the shop is currently working to build relationships with multiple OEMs. The shop is already proud to be one of the first shops in the Subaru-Certified Collision Program and is working over the next few months on achieving certification from a handful of other manufacturers that make sense based on the shop’s geographical location.
Of course, as with many certifications, a shop’s ability to work with different materials like aluminum is a big factor. Many shops working with aluminum have a tough time allocating dedicated space to keep it separate from steel, but Showtime has so much space that they’re considering outfitting a completely separate building on their property for aluminum repair.
“We have additional, unused shop facilities that are available for expansion as we move toward separate work areas for alternative materials, such as aluminum and carbon fiber,” Makeig said. “This transition and expansion will occur as aluminum and carbon fiber are used more often in the types of vehicles that we repair most often.”
Exotic material or not, welding is another essential part of a great shop, and Showtime utilizes a Pro-Spot i5 spot welder, two Pro Spot SP-2 MIG welders (steel and silicon bronze), a Pro Spot aluminum welding station and a Nitrocell plastic welding system.
“We maintain all of our equipment meticulously; if the equipment is not working as the manufacturer intended, we aren’t putting out the quality product that our customers deserve,” said Makeig. “It is crucial that the machines are cared for and well-maintained.”
An issue of debate in the industry has been performing and getting paid for test welds and destructive weld tests, but Makeig said it’s no problem at Showtime. And with a simplified process in place, it makes it easier for techs to document the tests – which means it’s easier to get paid too.
“Technicians have access to the CCC One app on their phone so they can add pictures of the process to each specific RO,” said Makeig. “We don’t encounter much pushback regarding payment for such processes as long as photo documentation is provided.”
In the future, Makeig said that Showtime plans to continue to grow and upgrade the facility and equipment to best serve its customers.