Close-knit team at small Redding shop pumps out top work with low cycle times
Redding, Calif.—As an Gold I-CAR shop, Mike Bryant says Artistic Body & Paint and staff have to stay on top of training to maintain its status and repair new technology as it rolls off the assembly lines.
“I-CAR is a great resource for us, because they provide us with the latest information and the technicians can become better as a result,” said Bryant, who owns the shop with his wife, Peggy. “I-CAR comes here for the welding classes and they work one-on-one for four to eight hours with each tech, and then the other classes are usually held at a local dealership.”
He manages a small team at Artistic and that’s the way he prefers it.
“We have a tight group here with six technicians and one estimator, and they produce a lot of work out of a 10,000-square-foot facility. We fix 60 cars monthly and our cycle time is 8.2 days — we’re proud of that.”
While Bryant notes that there is a shortage of qualified people in his area, he is able to retain his crew with continual training, paid vacations and paid holidays. He also listens to their input during regular meetings.
“We value their feedback and listen to them. We are open to discussing compensation, incentives and other things that affect them.”
Redding Carr Fire
Located in the City of Redding and serving Shasta County, Artistic Body & Paint often gets second- and third-generation customers who will travel 25-30 miles for repairs.
Some of them recently showed at Artistic’s door with vehicle damage as a result of the Redding Carr Fire.
“It was devastating for several of our customers,” said Peggy Bryant, manager and bookkeeper. “They lost their homes and if they couldn’t get their cars out of there, they were completely destroyed.”
Mike Bryant said the work they did receive was primarily smaller repairs.
“One car’s tail lights were blistered from the fires and the rubber around the back glass was burnt, but the glass was fine. The back bumper was also toasted, so we had to replace it. We also had a couple cars where the paint was burned in a few spots, so we had to sand them down and do a re-paint.”
The shop’s relationship with PPG has been as long as Artistic has been in business, 30 years.
“We have been with them since the beginning, because the Envirobase waterborne sprays out nicely and we’re very happy with the final product. Over the years, we’ve tried other paint brands, but always return to PPG. The support is outstanding and our painters go to the PPG Training Center in Concord to learn the ins and outs of the paint and deal with any problems when they arise, which are rare.”
“We have zero problems during the summer, but if the temperature outside is below 50 degrees, drying out the cars will take us more time and require more air movement by using some small blowers and hand held dryers.”
When it comes to diagnostics, Artistic relies on AllData and Snap-on scanners, and for most of their parts, Bryant uses a handful of nearby dealerships, such as Taylor Motors for GM parts and Crown Motors for Ford parts, both in Redding. He said that for their aftermarket parts, they use PartsTrader a lot and have had good success with it.
A passion for restoration
To pursue a lifelong passion of classic American cars, Bryant restores mostly Fords and Chevrolets, including his own 1953 truck that appears on his home page of his company website.
“We always have two restoration projects going on here for customers and they normally take a one to two years to complete. The customers are willing to wait, because they know that our work is excellent. We’ve restored a 1966 Chevelle and a few 1960 pickups that came out beautifully. We do every aspect of every restoration, except for the upholstery.”
Longevity and stability have helped Artistic Body & Paint, he said. “We are well known in the community and we don’t have to do any advertising. It’s all about word-of-mouth here.”