November '20

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NOVEMBER 2020 THE SHOP 23 for power bills, I got rid of 14 years of body- work and primer dust, spiders and their webs. So, now we have a brighter, cleaner, arachnid-free shop. I'm not sure if this is necessarily COVID-related, other than having time to install the lights and clean the shop since we're not at a car show." Meanwhile, the pandemic "has opened up a whole new level of parts sourcing," says Hadley of Maximum Elevation. "We had to start searching all of our resources high and low to find what we need. This has also opened up relationships that I never had before because of compla- cency. In addition, we find ourselves on a regular basis having to purchase from retail outlets to get the parts we need. I never had to source parts retail before. This definitely cuts into my bottom line to stay competi- tive, but at the end of the day, it's about taking care of the customer and keeping jobs flowing." Hadley is also encouraging his team to stay positive and be creative. "I tell all my guys to think outside of the box. This is the new normal. We are chartering territory that we never had to before. If it can be done, we can do it. If it can be found, we will find it," he says. "We need to adopt an extra level of patience. Every single one of us runs into hurdles daily. More now than ever, we won't com- plain about the problems—we'll offer the solutions." For these shops, the takeaway is to stay optimistic, continue to work hard and be grateful. "If you're a specialty shop with a good reputation, you'll be OK as long as you're constantly trying to reach customers with aggressive marketing," Ma says. The automotive aftermarket is persistent and flexible, Druesedow notes. "I think the industry is still very strong in these unprecedented times, and we will adapt and overcome to provide our con- sumers the best possible customer service without sacrificing their health and safety." In the end, adds Borcherding, things may not be as different as they seem. "Our shop is full, our employees are busy and our bucket runneth over. In the grand scheme of things, despite a few frustrating rules, we're doing just fine with whatever is the new normal." JASON SAKURAI heads up Roadhouse Marketing, a mar- keting, advertising and sales solutions firm dedicated to the automotive aftermarket. A fre- quent contributor to THE SHOP, Jason's byline appears in many enthusiast and trade publications, in print and online. Paintworks' Randy Borcherding has maintained a steady stream of customers despite the pandemic. (Photo courtesy SEMA) SEMA360 BOOTH VISIT OUR VIRTUAL 2020.09.15 -SEMA - Half Page, The Shop.indd 1 2020.09.15 -SEMA - Half Page, The Shop.indd 1 9/22/2020 5:15:26 PM 9/22/2020 5:15:26 PM

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