One of the valley’s most recognizable names in auto collision repair industry has now come to Central Oregon to help local drivers who might have let this winter’s slippery driving conditions get the best of them.
Precision Body & Paint of Bend opened its doors at the end of November, just in time for one of the snowiest, iciest winters in
The shop is an expansion of Precision Body & Paint of Beaverton, a 35-year-old local institution owned by Ron Reichen. Reichen is president of the Oregon Collision Repair Specialists, sits on the boards of the Northwest Automotive Trades Association, the National Board for the Society of Collision Repair Specialists and the National Autobody Council and is an active participant of the Collision Industry Conference. In 2009 his shop was voted the Autobody Collision Repair Shop of the Year by a panel of industry leaders. The shop is one of only four certified aluminum Audi collision repair facilities on the entire West coast. Precision is also factory certified by Porsche, Volkswagen and Volvo, and repairs all other makes and models.
Seeing how successful Precision Body & Paint had been in Beaverton, Audi approached Reichen about expanding his shop to Bend, where there are more Audis per capita than in any other city in the nation.
The idea coincided with Tim Baines’ retirement from working as a special education PE teacher and dance and gymnastics coach at Glencoe High in Hillsboro, and Reichen tapped Baines, who was moving to Central Oregon, to help head up the new shop as division coordinator between Beaverton and Bend and marketing director.
“About the time that Audi approached, my move was happening as well,” Baines said.
Reichen was searching for someone with good people skills to help with the expansion.
“For me, it’s all about relationships,” Baines explained. “Ron said, ‘I’m not looking for someone with a background in the automotive collision industry, I’m looking for someone to help Precision build long-term relationships in Central Oregon.”
After moving to Central Oregon, Baines spent about a year doing marketing work for Precision Body & Paint and educating the public about the importance of certified collision repairs.
“If you want to get your car repaired to factory standards with factory parts, trained technicians and certified paint, then Precision can perform this for you.” Baines said. “Audi will only sell aluminum structural parts to a certified shop.”
Before the Bend branch opened, cars were shipped to Beaverton to have work done. Then, once Baines found that he was getting a strong response, he started looking for a location in Bend. After a few months of searching, he found the perfect location at 61530 S Highway 97, formerly RSC Rentals, across from Fred Meyer.
“Geographically it just made sense to be here,” Baines said. “The location is perfect, in regards to Fred Meyer and how busy 3rd Street is, and the distance between us and local car dealers.” Since their opening in late November, Precision Body & Paint of Bend has been so busy that they’ve had to hire two additional employees for a total of seven. In addition to the slippery conditions of November and December, the shop can also credit its success to the solid reputation of the Beaverton location.
“A lot of our customers, we’ve noticed, are people that used to live in the Portland area,” Baines said. “They say, ‘Oh, we used to take our car to you guys over in Beaverton. We’ve moved over here and we’re so glad to see that Precision is now in Central Oregon.’”
The shop is the capable hands of general manager Greg Mickle, a 30-year veteran of the auto body industry in Central Oregon. In three decades he’s managed three other shops in the area, and he knows the local industry forwards and backwards.
“It’s been helpful – I’ve had so much contact with local vendors, and got to know a lot of the technicians in our trade,” Mickle said. “I’ve been fortunate to hand-pick the ones that I wanted working here.”
Today’s vehicles are extremely high-tech, and collisions can affect the complex sensors and computer chips that deploy restraint systems such as airbags and seatbelts. Ensuring that those details are repaired properly is key, and customers who bring their cars to Precision Body & Paint of Bend can rest assured that the shop’s staff will know all about the latest technology.
“The owner is committed to ongoing training,” Mickle said. “Cars are changing on a yearly basis. We have to stay up on that.”
The shop’s new European resistance spot welder is the best in the industry, said Mickle, adding that Reichen doesn’t mind making large investments to keep up with the latest technology.
The shop also strives to be friendly toward the environment, Baines said. The heated air used in the paint booth can be reclaimed for a huge energy savings, Baines said, and filters inside prevent byproducts from leaving the facility.
“Between the paint booth and the glasurit water-based paint products, all the sound environmental practices are being used,” Baines said.
Precision Body & Paint of Bend is following the model of the Beaverton shop to ensure they earn factory certifications. Taking your vehicle to a certified shop after a collision, Baines said, will give it a higher resale value now that savvy car buyers can use Carfax to learn about your vehicle’s history.
An official ribbon cutting for Precision Body & Paint of Bend is set for April 7.
Precision Body & Paint, 61530 S Highway 97, 541-382-3995.