It’s not unusual to hear business owners boast that they’re the best. But it’s another matter entirely to prove it as Luigi and Anthony Scola have done — winning an award in June for the nation’s best CARSTAR auto repair franchise.
“It was a real surprise when it happened,” says Luigi Scola, who co-owns CARSTAR Scola’s Collision Center in Brookfield with his brother Anthony. “We go to the CARSTAR conference every year, and there are 440 nationwide stores. It makes us feel very prestigious and very proud that we won it.”
Franchisee of the Year is the highest award in the CARSTAR system and it’s very difficult to win. It means keeping everyone happy — not just customers, but also the insurance companies that send in clients as well. The more satisfied insurance companies are, the more business they send in. But that also creates a challenge to keep up standards as volume grows.
No problem for Luigi and Anthony, perfectionists who are always striving to improve their game. As Luigi likes to say, “I want to get things done today, not yesterday.” CARSTAR ranks its franchises from Tier 1 to Tier 4 based on advanced systems training and group gaining standards. Scola’s CARSTAR sits atop the company as the only franchise to currently earn Tier 4 status.
The Scola family tradition in auto body repair dates to before they joined CARSTAR in 2003. In years previous, they operated the shop with their father, Ferdinando, who opened it in 1991 and was in business more than 40 years before retiring when the duo teamed up with CARSTAR.
“When he first started it, we came up with a slogan, ‘We Repair with Care.’ He wanted to make sure we treated everyone like family,” Scola says.
But even the most loyal family member would have a tough time keeping up with the Scolas when it comes to attention to detail. With every car that comes in, for example, they take close to two-dozen pictures that document the entire repair process. “And if the cars have hood chips or body chips from stones, we’ll touch them up for the customer and make sure everything’s clean and shiny and ready for them to pick up.”
CARSTAR franchises, which are independently owned and operated, routinely score in the mid- to upper 90 percent range for satisfaction. Scola’s Collision rated almost perfectly, with a 98.9 customer service index. The Scolas run the place like a well-oiled auto, with 15 employees split into three teams that oversee bodywork, refinishing and administrative paperwork and tracking.
In the final stages, “A quality inspector looks at every vehicle,” Scola says. “As it goes through the repair process and is washed and cleaned up, he grabs the repair order and estimate and goes through every line. He makes sure everything was done and done correctly.” That precision might explain why business has nearly tripled since 2003, from $1 million to closing in on $3 million this year.
For the Scola brothers, it all traces back to taking care of family — something they saw and learned growing up as Italians. Luigi and Tony’s parents hailed from Calabria and the brothers, like their dad, have helped fuel and drive the Calabresi in America Organization.
“We’re very proud of our heritage,” Luigi says.
CARSTAR Scola’s Collision Center
9110 Ogden Ave.
Brookfield, IL 60513