1Collision has announced the addition of Kepner’s Precision Auto Krafters in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
Established more than 50 years ago, Kepner’s Precision Auto Krafters is a family run business located southwest of Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids. The company prides itself on repairing vehicles to the highest standards and providing excellent service.
“We are delighted to add Kepner’s to our network and support their ongoing business goals,” said John Hollingsworth, 1Collision’s director of new location development.
Connie Kepner, owner and CEO of Kepner’s, learned about 1Collision from another collision repair facility in Grand Rapids that was experiencing the same challenges in the industry as Kepner’s. Connie decided to affiliate with 1Collision for the support offered in finding technicians and learning new business programs and processes.
Connie’s husband, Rich, opened the body shop in the early 1970s when he was 18. Over the years, the business grew and Rich invested in technology and tools to provide proper repairs and maintain the highest quality work. Connie joined the company in the 1990s.
“My husband was a great body man and restored vehicles,” said Connie.
This included Muhammad Ali’s Rolls Royce, which is currently at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky.
Since Rich died six years ago, Connie and the front office staff have run the business office while her son Ryan Kepner and son-in-law Jesse Holmes assist with estimates and manage the body shop.
Many employees have worked at Kepner’s for 20-30 years. “We probably have the best technicians in town,” said Connie. “We don’t have a big turnover so we aren’t training someone new every six to eight months.”
“Connie has created an amazing work environment and culture for her staff,” said Hollingsworth. “In turn, that staff has supported customers in an exceptional manner.”
Since the pandemic, the business has continued to grow. “We’re so busy that literally every hour someone is calling or coming in and getting an estimate,” she said.
As a result, she plans to continue educating staff on new repair methods and hire additional employees to help manage the business.
“Rich was very good at making sure a car looked the best it could when it left the shop. Like my husband, I enjoy making people happy,” said Connie. “When all our customers are happy and we don’t have any comebacks, that’s a really good day.”
Connie said the family continues to operate on Rich’s principles: repair it right, finish it well and always please the customer with expert paint and bodywork.
“His influence on the business continues to guide employees to this day,” she said.