A meeting will be held Dec. 3 in Baton Rouge, La., to decide if there is enough interest in starting a collision repair association in Louisiana. Judging by the 200 independent shops, vendors and dealers that have already RSVP’d, organizer Alysia Hanks, office manager of Lakeway Collision Center in Mandeville, La., feels good that the association will become reality.
“We believe, like the Mississippi Collision Repair Association, that by coming together with other shops and supporting and educating each other, it will only help us improve our livelihood,” said Hanks.
John Mosley, president of the Mississippi Collision Repair Association (MCRA), along with Alabama Automotive Repair Industry Society of Excellence President Steve Plier and Attorney John Eaves, Jr., will be at the meeting as a show of support and guidance, according to Hanks. These individuals, along with industry consultant Ron Perretta, will speak at the event.
The association has been tentatively named the Southeast Louisiana Collision Repair Association (SeLaCRA), but with the strong show of support from shops statewide, Hanks believes they will drop the “Southeast” portion of the name.
“We originally called it ‘Southeast’ because we thought at first we might be met with a lot of resistance because no one wants to ruffle any feathers,” said Hanks. “But the very next day after sending out an email, we had to book rooms for 90 people at the Holiday Inn, and the day after that had to reserve the ballroom for 300 because everyone I emailed said they were spreading the word and had several other shops that would be interested in attending.”
Hanks says that Louisiana Automotive Dealers Association (LADA) president Bob Israel even emailed her to find out more information in order to get dealerships with collision shops involved.
“We’re hoping that, once we get the dealers and vendors backing us, we can really take a stand against State Farm and anything else,” said Hanks. “Education will be another top priority. The Mississippi shops said once shops started talking from state line to state line, it cut back on a lot of the grief insurance companies can give us when they’re standing here saying, ‘We won’t pay for that,’ or, ‘No other shop charges for that.’”
SeLaCRA’s mission as stated on its Facebook page is to “serve in the best interests of the collision repair industry through education, support, leadership and business connections in our trade. We hope to achieve the open sharing and exchanging of ideas which will help make this field better for everyone who serves it. From the porter to office assistants to shop owners and dealers, we are here to provide everyone a voice and hope for the future of our livelihood.”
The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn, 9940 Airline Highway, Baton Rouge, La. 70816, ph. (225) 924-7021. There is a special hotel discount if you mention the code “PPG.” PPG and Tasco Auto Color are the official sponsors of the event.
Contact Alysia Hanks