Mill Run Collision Center opened in the quaint borough of Mill Village, PA in 1984, but despite being located in a historic district, the shop owned by Lee DeBrakeleer is anything but dated. Six employees work on an average of 40 vehicles each month in the facility’s two buildings which are outfitted with the industry’s latest and most technologically advanced tools and equipment.
Two of the most valuable tools in Mill Run’s arsenal are the Spectrometer and the Matrix Edge™ refinish system, a Valspar Automotive® brand. DeBrakeleer said, “The reasonable cost of the Matrix Edge system, as well as the excellent coverage and ease of application, make the product an asset for our business. This is complemented by an excellent color match, supported by the camera.”
Mill Run Collision began using Matrix Edge due to encouragement and support from his jobber, Lake City Paint. He noted, “I believe the support of a jobber is as important as the product itself. The value of the Matrix Edge system is augmented by the additional benefit of the support received from the Valspar Automotive representatives and Lake City Paint.”
When Mill Run Collision implemented the Matrix Edge system, “Transitioning to the new system was effortless without loss of production time, due to the service we receive from Valspar Automotive and Lake City Paint,” DeBrakeleer shared. “Two representatives spent a week working with the painter in our shop to ensure he was comfortable with the system, and they continue to provide support to our technicians and painter.”
“We were previously using a competitor’s waterborne system. While the color match is similar, the ease of use of Matrix Edge is superior, plus there’s a significant cost savings when using Matrix,” DeBrakeleer continued. “There was an initial modest cost savings on materials, as well as an improvement in cycle times due to the excellent coverage and color match. My employees are pleased with Matrix Edge.”
Employee job satisfaction is extremely important to DeBrakeleer. All four collision technicians at Mill Run Collision have received I-CAR training, including welding certifications, plus they are all ASE Certified Master Technicians. DeBrakeleer expressed, “Our employees remain the most vital part of our business, and that relationship has been cultivated through communication and developing a lucrative incentive plan that rewards employees for efficiency, not just monetarily but also with flexible work schedules and days off. This allows us to retain the area’s finest Master Technicians.”
Mill Run Collision Center consists of a 4,000 square foot main building as well as a 3,200 square foot aluminum and PDR building, but Mill Run Collision is currently breaking ground on a two-stage addition that will provide an additional 12,000 square feet of production space to meet customers’ needs.
Expressing the belief that his success is largely due to the relationships developed with clients, DeBrakeleer said, “Our relationships with customers make our shop unique, and most of our work is from repeat customers. We see our customers as our greatest asset; they are the force that drives our business, so we take every opportunity to improve the repair process and the customer’s experience to maintain our high customer satisfaction rating. Rather than worrying about what other shops in the area are doing, we put our energy back into our facility, equipment and customers. In return, we have enjoyed consistent growth.”
Mill Run Collision is also very active in the community, supporting the local fire department, sponsoring a variety of local sports teams, and participating in multiple community fundraising events throughout the year. “We value our community and actively give back,” DeBrakeleer stated.
DeBrakeleer also strongly believes in giving back to the collision repair industry by supporting future technicians. In addition to proctoring the collision repair NOCTI hands-on testing each year for the local career center, he sits on the Advisory Boards for several local tech schools and career centers. He explained, “It is crucial to update vocational instructors about new products and technology to ensure that they can better educate and prepare students for an entry-level job opportunity in the collision repair industry.”
Mill Run Collision also allows students to visit the shop and become acquainted with the modern equipment that many schools cannot afford. DeBrakeleer noted, “I believe in giving back to our industry by providing this service to local students.”
Explaining his dedication to local collision repair students, DeBrakeleer added, “A shortage of qualified technicians is eminent. Keeping up with the fast pace of technology remains a challenge for us all, and with such an accelerated pace of technology, we aren’t filling the current job opportunities in the industry. I feel strongly that supporting our local career and technical schools is vital to the future of the collision repair industry.”
Mill Run Collision Center
Location: Mill Village, PA
Company at a Glance…
Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 6
In Business Since: 1984
Number of Locations: One
DRP Programs: Four
Combined Production Space: 7,200 square feet
Matrix Edge™, a Valspar® Automotive Brand
4440 Warrensville Center Rd.
Warrensville Hts., OH 44128