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Auto Body Specialties
Auto Body Specialties (ABS) is a complete supplier of paint and body shop supplies, featuring PPG paint and glass, 3M products, as well as sheet metal, bumpers, tools, equipment and other collision repair parts. Perhaps you have seen one of their 35 red vans delivering product all over eastern South Dakota, western Minnesota, northwest Iowa, and northeast Nebraska.
ABS started July 1, 1950, as Service Parts Company by Harley and Sallie Roddel. Harley worked for Sioux Falls Machine Works at the time. Harley left Sioux Falls Machine Works when it became clear that the company would be closing. When Harley and Sallie opened their store they had a vision to provide top quality products and services to their customers. By delivering on this vision over the years they built their company into an industry leader with four locations throughout eastern South Dakota. Harley was able to secure the PPG paint and auto glass lines. Service Parts Company also carried a complete line of mechanical parts. For twenty years the company grew and prospered. In July of 1970 the company focused its emphasis on paint and body shop supplies. This narrowed focus allowed them to be the best in their field. The name was changed in 1976 to Auto Body Specialties to reflect this focus. This focus provided the basis for decades of sound growth. A second location was added that year in Mitchell. A third location in Brookings was added ten years later. The geographic expansion was complete in 2000 when they added the store in Watertown.
Management of the company was passed to the second generation in 1990. The company is currently managed by family members: Connie Larson and Margie Jensen handle human resources, Becky Johnson manages purchasing, Jim Roddel inner store operations, while Ron Roddel oversees the entire operation. ABS currently employs 55 people. Employees are thought of as part of the family and many employees have been with the company for over 10 years with some putting in over 20 years with the company.
Company growth continues to happen at ABS due, in large part, to their desire to be “the first to show their customers something new in the industry.” PPG Light Industrial Coatings (LIC) was added in 1991. It was felt that this paint product would compliment the already complete line of refinish products carried by Auto Body Specialties. This expanded their client list to include local manufacturers. ABS INDUSTRIAL COATINGS is a supplier of high quality paint products, spray equipment, abrasives, solvents and safety equipment for manufactures, fabricators and fleets.
ABS Industrial Coatings distributes the PPG line of light industrial coatings. Expert color matching, free same day or next day delivery service in their trade area compliment their vast inventory of industrial products. Sata, Binks, DeVilbiss and Graco spray equipment are also available. A full service repair facility is on-site to clean and repair most any brand of spray equipment as well as other air and electric tools.
Paint accounts for over half of the company’s business. Keeping their customers abreast of the latest innovations in technology is a cornerstone of ABS service philosophy. The company offers on-site demonstrations of products and tools in addition to onsite color matching. Parts and supplies comprise the remaining portion of the operation. Their “on-time” delivery pledge requires that they maintain inventory levels necessary to fulfill that pledge. ABS’ original location was on the corner of 7th and Dakota Ave (currently part of the Sioux Falls City Library parking lot). In 2003 they built a new 40,000 sq. ft. facility on the north side of Sioux Falls. The new and greatly expanded facility allows for easy access of their vehicles to the Interstates facilitating their “on time delivery” pledge. Most customers receive deliveries 5 days a week. Continuing education is very important to ABS and their customers. Their new facility includes a 200 sq. ft. training facility complete with audio/video equipment. They hold seminars for their employees and customers regularly to teach them the latest updates in their industry. Modern computer equipment is also integral to the growth of the company. ABS’ staff of inside salespeople take incoming phone calls and place orders on the company’s order tracking computer system.
Results of the goods and services provided by ABS show up every day throughout the region in various forms. It could be the radical paint used on a high end award winning custom hot rod, a fire truck painted with products supplied by ABS or your next door neighbor’s automobile repaired with parts and materials used by an auto body shop in your town. Trailer manufactures, road equipment, semi trucks, playground equipment and even the stripes on your local football field.
ABS looks forward to continued growth and improvement when they pass the company on to a third generation. The future brings many environmental changes to the auto and industrial painting industry. Environmentally friendly technology will play a big part in the paint materials used in the near future. ABS is being very pro-active to be environmentally friendly with a line of water based color systems. Water base systems use water instead of solvents to spray the color on the prepared surfaces. This eliminates volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) from being released into the atmosphere, something that the EPA has identified that paint manufactures need to reduce. PPG and ABS are committed to accomplishing this long before it is mandated. Additionally, a large number of replacement bumpers both steel and rubber, sold by ABS are recycled. Damaged bumpers are picked up by ABS route trucks and returned to their supplier, Keystone Automotive, to be repaired and refinished to new standards. Those that are not repairable are sent away to be used as scrap steel or recycled plastic products. The automotive collision repair business is ever-changing. In addition to environmental issues, the automotive collision repair business has gotten very technical and ABS will be right there for their customers keeping them upto- date with the latest in technological advances.