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Brothers Randy and Glenn Holbrooks began their business 25 years ago in Seneca, S.C., and are realizing how quickly the industry is changing.
Brothers Randy and Glenn Holbrooks began their business 25 years ago in Seneca, S.C., just a stone’s throw away from Clemson University. But if that stone causes any body damage to your vehicle, you’ll be taken care of like family at Twin Lakes Auto Body and RV Repair.
“We’ve been here for 25 years and it has continued to grow, from one employee to 18. We just kept growing and growing, and here we are,” Randy said. “Actually, Glenn started piddling in his backyard and he used to do a lot of restoration work and paint jobs. He got some recognition when one of his jobs was featured in Super Chevy magazine. After that, we purchased some property that already had a building on it, and we went in there and modified it, and basically started a body shop.”
Twin Lakes Auto Body and RV Repair
Location: Seneca, S.C.
Owners: Randy and Glenn Holbrooks
Square Footage: 20,000
Average Repair Cost: $2,700
Annual Gross Sales: $2.5 million
Number of Employees: 20
Certifications: Ford and GM; Nissan, Chrysler, Kia coming soon
DRPs: Allstate, State Farm, Nationwide, Progressive; all major insurance companies within the state of South Carolina
Being so close to Clemson University, the Holbrooks see a lot of students and faculty in their shop and began their business with a mission: to treat everyone like family, especially since many of the students are from out of town. The brothers want to make sure their customers and their parents know that their children are safe and taken care of.
“What sets us apart is that we try to create a family atmosphere here,” Randy said. “From our employees all the way to our customers, because our customers, they’re very important to us and over the years, they’ve become an extended family.”
“We’re not exactly on the main strip, but we manage to do successful business in our area and at our location,” Glenn said. “And I think a lot of that’s contributed to us being consistent as far as trying to take care of our customers and build that relationship and now, we’re probably the biggest shop in the area.”
That small-town notoriety has influenced major companies to take notice and rely on Twin Lakes Auto Body & RV Repair as a business partner. For example, Proterra, an electric bus manufacturer, sends their buses to the Holbrooks’ shop for paint work.
“We’re very privileged to work with Proterra on their buses,” Randy said.
“They ship their buses all over the U.S. and Canada, especially since the eco-friendly idea is really coming alive and it’s a unique adventure for us,” Glenn added.
In order to take on these new and exciting avenues of business, when it comes to training their staff and obtaining OE certifications, the team at Twin Lakes makes it a priority in their shop.
“Cars are changing so rapidly and if you’re not staying on top of it, your shop is going to fall to the wayside. Body shops are really going to have to step up with their training and that’s going to be a big-dollar expense,” Glenn said. “But if you don’t get the training, you’re not going to be able to work on today’s cars.”
Within the shop, the Holbrooks believe that training is not a “one and done” task. It is continuous and ongoing. As a result, they’ve teamed up with several companies who help them train their staff.
“We’ve been with I-CAR for years and years and Blue Ridge Color Company, our paint company, provide us with a lot of training,” Glenn said. “They go above and beyond helping us get the experience that we need. It has been really helpful.”
The entire staff at Twin Lakes receives training. Randy said that it is important to see his staff get a rounded education, from the technicians who work on the frame to the painters and welders. Each training session is catered to that technician’s specialty to get their qualifications, especially for OE certification.
Behind the Bays
Total Bays: 16
Scheduling System: CCC
Scan Tools: AirPro
Spraybooth: Blowtherm USA
Lifts: Eagle Lifts
Measuring System: Car-O-Liner
Welders: Pro Spot (steel), Chief (aluminum)
“Although it isn’t required of shops now, OEM certification is becoming part of the future,” Randy said. “We want to be part of the future, and I see it trending that way. I think we’re on the front side of it, so to speak. As insurance companies and the OEMs work together, the data becomes more prominent and available in the industry.”
For many in the industry who have been around for a number of years, they are aware of how quickly things change.
“It is a learning curve of change for us body guys. We’ve done it one way for so long then all of the sudden, it changed around to a whole new concept of how to work on cars. It is important to us that we are fixing the car properly. That’s it,” Randy added. “If you don’t stay on top of what’s changing in the industry and stay on the cutting edge of it, you’ll fall to the wayside real quick.”
“We work really closely with our DRPs and the OEM,” Glenn said. “The objective is to do a quality car and safe repair. That’s the objective. Nobody’s ever going to ignore that objective because it becomes a safety issue. Everybody is on board.”