Recently a young woman who is like a daughter to us and I were attending a Juice Plus business Boot Camp in Branson, MO. We were on our way back from a full weekend, and she was carefully driving under the speed limit. It was a dark, bitterly cold night in the twisty back roads of Kentucky between Missouri and I-24 in Tennessee, and a beautiful 10-point or so buck decided to use her car to more than likely end his life. No one but the deer was hurt, but the hood of her little 2010 Chevy Cobalt was munched. We were able to drive home safely, and the next day was spent dealing with getting repair estimates, car rental, and all that is involved in the aftermath of an accident. One thing that was a comfort though, was that for us (based on previously received outstanding customer care), there was only one place to go to get the car repaired and that was Brad Stovall’s Auto Body Shop in Tanner.
Brad has been in the auto body business for over 25 years, having carved out his career the old-fashioned American way through hard work and dedication to his craft. He has built a reputation to where people now bring their cars from Tennessee, Huntsville, Decatur, and elsewhere, and there is no more powerful mode of advertising than word of mouth.
Brad describes himself as a dreamer and says, “If you believe in something, don’t listen to the negative, or let the thoughts of others bring you down.” He also understands the importance of listening to those who have been successful themselves. He is one of the few people I have ever met who feels that he has essentially accomplished his dreams, and just wants to keep building on his success. In spite of the current state of the economy, the company has been able to build a comfortable, additional facility just behind the Post Office in Tanner with more space in which to practice his “art.” He also added, “I love to see something that has been destroyed completely restored.”
While the Cobalt was far from being destroyed, when we went to pick it up, the new hood was gleaming and was now a perfect match to the rest of the body. I learned that silver is a tough color to match, and Brad has computerized equipment that precisely measures the color components of the original color and creates the match. There is a comparable device that measures frames so they can once again be “right as rain.” Brad told me, “In December alone we took care of 41 deer strikes.” Obviously, they have had lots of practice.
I talked to some of the office staff, and it’s pretty easy to tell if someone is a satisfied worker when they can speak with pride about the work that is done in their place of employment without being prodded. Here are some of the things they feel sets Brad Stovall’s Auto Body Shop apart in terms of customer care.
“We do better work,” they said. It is not at all uncommon for someone that has had repair work done at another shop to bring the vehicle to Brad in order to get “a repair of the repair.” Brad told me that recently a man with a custom colored car had several previous shops try and take care of repair and match, and Brad was the only one who had successfully made the match and do a true repair. Another customer told Brad, “You’ve got my business from here on out, and I’ll tell other people.”
The shop knows that the paperwork after an accident can be a nightmare, and they will walk people through every part of the claim process, including the deductible. They will pick you up, take you home, and do everything they can to help get you back on the road again. Most importantly, they stand behind their work, and I have personally observed them dealing with an unhappy customer and making it right.
Something else I enjoy about Brad and his company is their involvement in the community. “We try to keep everything we do to ‘give back’ right here in the area,” he told me. They are the proud sponsors of the annual Ardmore Car Show, which started out with a handful of car owners and now has 1400 participants. They help the school sports teams of the area, and support the Tech School. A couple of the Tech kids have come to Brad’s to do apprentice work, and I have no doubt that he is passing on his legacy. He and his crew will see to it that outstanding repair work and customer care will continue on, and our community will be the better for it.
Brad Stovall’s Auto Body Shop
11848 Esque Drive (behind the Tanner Post Office) Tanner, AL
Body Shop: 256-233-5140
Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-5pm, Saturday by appointment
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner