Small business works: RPMS Auto Body Shop

By Teri Okita – bio | email

KAILUA (HawaiiNewsNow) - When RPMS Auto Body Shop in Kailua starts its engines, it's a good sign things are running smoothly.

In our continuing series, "Small Business Works", the car repair company isn't on the fast-track to success. Its secret is a slow and steady race to the head of the pack.

Nestled in the hills off Kapaa Quarry road, RPMS has weathered the ups-and-downs of business over the last quarter century. "We've chosen to truly just focus on collision repair at the highest level of quality," says Madison Spotts.

Madison and her husband, Ron, are the brains behind the company. Along with their 11 employees, the couple works side-by-side. "It was the end of 1985 that I met him. I just wanted my car fixed, and we went out a couple nights later, and we've been together ever since," she laughs.

The Spotts ran a shop in Kailua, then Kaneohe, and in 2007, made the decision - and the $600,000 investment - to relocate to a shiny, new, spacious facility, off the beaten path, in the Kapaa Quarry Industrial Complex. "Being here, it's so much better, so much better. Having a warehouse to ourselves, being able to move around," explains Ron Spotts.

The upgrade includes a state-of-the-art spray booth. They use only environmentally-safe, water-based paints. "You can't just paint a car, and say, 'Hey, I want to paint a car'. There's an eye and a gift to it," says Madison.

They fix every make and model of car here - whether it's an $800 or $80,000 car. They say there are about 200 repair shops in the state, but only 30 or so do the majority of the work and are truly equipped and have the expertise to work on today's cars.

Ron has been fixing automobiles since he was a kid at Castle high. His teachers used to let him tinker with their cars. "My teachers would let me get out of class and do some rust repairs and things like that."

Auto repair has changed a lot since then - now that cars come equipped with new metals, safety features, and media options. But one thing remains constant: collisions are stressful for customers. "It's about the person. The car is sort of a by-product of why they're here," says Madison. "It's tapping into where they're at, listening to the story, offering them direction. That's the main thing. It's 'What do I do next?'"

They credit loyal customers, their faith, and their staff's sharp skills for success on the long, sometimes bumpy, road of collision repair.

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