I hope by the time you read this you’re off to a flying start in the New Year.
In this job, I’m asked to travel a fair amount, and I often find myself in different locations around our great nation. This month’s destination is Butler, Pa. Butler is an old steel town located in the western part of the state. It’s a nice little town with a still-active downtown. Right in the middle of town is Butler County Ford.
Like many smaller-town dealers, Butler has stayed in town because that’s where most of the community is. The unique part about this dealer and its body shop is that it has four floors.
This facility was a reassembly point for Ford back in the day. Built in 1918, partial cars came into the dealership by rail and would move through the building and be assembled on overhead conveyors that are still in place. There are only a handful of these unique buildings still in operation.
The body shop is on the third floor and has three to five employees. Chuck Reeseman is the manager, and he still works on vehicles during busy times. Every vehicle that’s worked on has to make the trip to the third floor via the elevator. Think about that from a logistical point of view! As you can see from the picture of the elevator, there’s no room on there for a wrecker.
Still, Chuck says they manage 10 to 15 vehicles a week and are profitable. They shoot PPG waterborne products and have no downdraft booth (12-inch cement floors won’t allow it).
It’s like a trip down memory lane to visit this shop. Cars used to be built at this facility, and new ones and repaired ones still roll off the elevator and into customers’ hands. It’s definitely something to see if you’re in the area.
Think about it: The song remains the same.
You see this in your parts store every day: A customer walks in and needs a part to keep a vehicle moving. A repair shop calls and a parts pro looks up a part that a driver loads in their vehicle and heads out to drop off. That’s a scenario that fits as well in the 1960s as it does 2014. Sure, maybe there’s a computer or a tablet involved now, but the facts are the same: Someone needs your help and you’re there to make sure they or their customers stay on the road.
Some things never change.