CARSTAR has been operating in Manitoba since 1998, under the guidance of co-owners Dan Jonsson and Skye Grexton, and since its inception has grown to five locations. There are four in Winnipeg, and one in Stonewall.
“It started off as Sovereign Coach Works on Saskatchewan Avenue and then CARSTAR Inkster and CARSTAR Henderson were added to the mix,” said Skye. With continued growth, two years ago, CARSTAR Chevrier and CARSTAR Stonewall were added.
All CARSTAR locations in Manitoba provide collision and glass service, while the CARSTAR Fife location also offers mechanical repair.
“We love working in Manitoba. Manitoba Public insurance is incredibly fair to deal with, so we appreciate our insurance partners as well as our business partners. We find an ease working here in Manitoba.”
Skye says that because CARSTAR is a larger group of businesses, it makes dealing with insurance companies that much easier. These affiliations have given CARSTAR the insight they need to know in order to stay relevant in today’s market.
“Something that we do, that nobody else does, is called ‘Express Claims,’” said Skye. “If you phone your claim in, and you’re too busy to make your Autopac appointment, we’ll actually take it to Autopac for you. We make it really easy for you: we pick up your car, we run it to Autopac, bring it back here and repair it and then you’re done. We try to alleviate you of the stress of the MPI claim.”
“Some people are nervous driving into MPI, so some people really love that service.”
“We hire apprentices all the time. We hire a certain type of person and then we train them. We hire 18, 19 20-year-olds and watch them grow with our company.”
Skye notes CARSTAR Henderson’s Darryl Willard as a prime example of the type of person CARSTAR hires. Darryl has long held an interest in auto mechanics, dating back to his high school days in Selkirk.
“I went to the Lord Selkirk Regional Comprehensive Secondary School (the Comp), and I took power mechanics. I’ve been working on cars since I could walk, pretty much. I just wanted to find a career that I loved. It wasn’t mechanics, apparently, because I got a job at a body shop.”
“When I was in my Level 1 apprenticeship program with Red River College, I met a guy who worked for CARSTAR. He called me out of the blue and asked if I was looking for work. I wasn’t actively looking, but any time a job comes up, I’m all ears. I set up an interview with Skye, we seemed to click well, she hired me on here and I haven’t looked back since.”
“When I started as an apprentice, it was basically doing small bumper jobs, keeping the shop clean, keeping the booth clean, washing cars and detailing. All of that kind of stuff. That was in 2010.”
Since then, through hard work and placing value in the company, Darryl has advanced to the role of production manager, managing the shop at CARSTAR Henderson.
“Eventually I progressed through all my levels. We set up a plan and each time I reached a goal, we’d set a new one. The next goal is ownership. To run a location completely, both front and back and then hopefully buying into the company and buying shares. Hopefully that happens within the next five years.”
“CARSTAR have been great, with their push, getting me through school and making sure I was maturing well as a technician. We’re treated more like family here, rather than just employees, which is great.”
For more info on CARSTAR, be sure to check out their ad on page 2 of the August issue, or visit them online at carstar.ca/manitoba/.