“Is this a body shop?” I wonder as I come into Ian’s Body Works. Absent is the usual smell of paint and chemicals, bottled water greets the customers, and Heather Walsh, the Business Manager, is busy trying to change the TV to “Noggin” for the young daughter of a customer as they wait for an estimate. Over behind a large glass window, the cars in varying stages of repair confirm that this is, in fact, a body shop.
David and Heather Walsh smile as we sit down, “We like to provide a very “un-body shop” appearance; it’s about our professionalism and going the extra mile to make our facility as customer-friendly as possible.” They take care of the little details, such as having Hertz rentals onsite. When a customer drives in with a smashed-in fender, bumper or door, the customer can check in, leave with a rental and Ian’s Body Works will take care of the rest. For customers whose rental coverage is insufficient, or for those who do not have insurance for a rental, Ian’s Body Works has two loaner vehicles they utilize for customers in need.
David Walsh is proud of their green transition. “We started this about a year ago, looking at some of the standards already passed in California and Canada. Things we are doing now will eventually be mandatory for all repair facilities, and we want to be ahead of the game. Plus, it’s the right thing to do. Most of our chemicals are water-based, so they’re good for the environment.”
David Walsh knows a thing or two about working with cars. “I’ve always loved working with my hands. I went to Forsyth Tech, planning on transferring credits, but fell in love with this type of work and earned a degree in Auto-Body Repair. I spent nearly 11 years working in different body shops, before working with Derek Wark at Ian’s Body Shop downtown on Marshall Street.” In 2004, David landed an opportunity that gave him a rare perspective on the
auto body industry. He became a direct sales consultant for BASF Corporation, selling automotive pant that was on the cutting edge of new automotive paint products. “Now, after the many years working on the cars, I also gained knowledge on the management side of the business. When Derek Wark was ready to sell Ian’s Body Works, I had all the experience necessary to make it work!”
Does Walsh have a favorite side of the business? “I still love working in the shop . . . I enjoy the hands-on aspect. That’s where Heather comes in; she’s the business manager and helps me take care of the office details.” Heather laughs, “Yes, my title is Business Manager, but I’m also Wife and Mom too! I take care of the office and help David with the business side, giving him time to still remain very involved in the shop.
We hear all the time that it doesn’t look or smell like a body shop. That’s our niche. We keep it as clean as possible. The way we do things means less odor and dust.” You can see their attention to detail on both sides of the business. The office is a comfortable waiting area with TV, coffee and bottled water. “It’s repeat customers and referrals that keep us, an independently-owned business, in business. That’s why we pay so much attention to details.”
What’s David’s favorite car to work on? “I love working on them all, each one is a different challenge, and we strive to have the car leave the shop looking as good, if not better, than before the damage. If I really had to choose, you still can’t beat the sleek lines of the foreign cars.” This year’s weather has been a big factor in damage to cars, last year there was more deer-related damage. With two paint booths and a precise computer color and finish-matching system, Ian’s Body Works stays busy.
What’s the strangest request they’ve received? Heather laughs, “We painted a customer’s dining room chairs; they wanted a custom paint color with a high-gloss finish and the automotive paint worked perfectly.” Whether it’s your furniture, a small nick or large dent on your car, think of Ian’s Body Works. Their professional office and green approach will put
your mind at ease as they erase those nicks and dents, all while giving the Earth a little help! Ian’s Body Works is located at 1540 Hanes Mall Blvd, Suite 100.