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Anderson’s Collision Center
So you’ve had an accident…now what? You call the police, they file a report, and you try to move on with your life. Problem is you have to go to work tomorrow or take the kids to soccer practice. You call a few body shops to search for the lowest price to fix your car. But whom do you call? How do you know they will fix it correctly and on time? You can take your car to one of many body shops but how do you know to choose a shop that understands that life goes on after you have had an accident.
Anderson’s Collision Center, located on West 12th Street in Sioux Falls is a second-generation body shop. In 1991 Harlan Anderson purchased a body shop on West 12th Street in Sioux Falls and renamed it Anderson’s Collision Center. Harlan’s son, Jeremy, and his wife Amy currently operate the business. Jeremy’s grandfather was in the body shop business in Lake Norden. Harlan worked with him there. After learning much from his father, Harlan took a job in Mitchell and then Chamberlain before moving his family to Madison and opening his own body shop business in 1976.
“I grew up in Madison,” recalls Jeremy. “And I grew up a short ways away in Howard,” says his wife Amy. Jeremy adds, “I grew up in this business. I worked in the body shop since I was a kid. I have always loved being around cars and all things mechanical. As a junior in high school, I decided to join the Army National Guard. (With parent’s consent you can join early.) Both of my grandfathers served in WWII. I love my country and wanted to serve too. The Guard also gave me valuable experience that helped me later on as I built my career. I operated a glass shop in Madison prior to attending school at Mitchell VoTech, where I studied electronics. Fifteen years ago, we had our first child, Jacob, and I felt it was time for me to grow up. I came into the family business in 1996. I really enjoyed the body shop business and wanted to make a career of it.” Today Jeremy and Amy have three children Jacob (15), Mellisa (7), and Levi (5). “We live in Hartford and enjoy living in a small town similar to the small towns we grew up in. Both Amy and I love to ride our Harleys. I ride a ‘06 Night Train and Amy rides a ‘03 Sportster Hugger. We participate in many poker runs around the area and have gone to Sturgis numerous times. Our kids enjoy riding dirt bikes and four-wheelers on our acreage so it’s kind of a family affair when it comes to outdoor activities. I grew up loving to hunt and fish. I also participated in many sports. Every activity from hunting and fishing to athletics has taught me dedication and perseverance. It also taught me patience. Each of these qualities has helped me in business.
Today Anderson’s Collision Center employs five full-time employees in addition to Jeremy, Amy and Harlan. Harlan continues to be involved in the business but today he spends much of his time selling Qwic Wash windshield washer fluid dispensers and products. The product can be seen at convenience stores but is also sold in automotive repair shops. The product eliminates plastics in the landfill and reminds people when they fill up to add washer fluid. You can see these at Taylor’s Pantry on Minnesota Avenue. They also wholesale the machines to local auto dealer Rydell Group for use in their shops.
Harlan has been making people smile for years. He is a Shrine clown. As a Shrine clown he participates in competitions at Shriner conventions to honor the best clown characters. “I’ve been competing in the tramp category for many years now,” says Harlan. Harlan was recently recognized as one of the best, winning the “extraordinaire” title for his tramp character during Shriner’s International Imperial Council Session held earlier this summer in St. Louis, MO. Winning the extraordinaire title made Anderson the “best of the best”. The Shriner’s recognize four different clown categories-white face, Auguste, character, and tramp/hobo. Harlan competes in the hobo category. To accurately portray a hobo, Anderson had to collect worn and ragged clothing that included trousers, shirt, coat, and tie. “The recognition is nice but the visits to hospitals are priceless,” according to Harlan. Every year Harlan visits hospitals about three to four times a year to cheer up patients. “It doesn’t matter how sick they are or if they’re two years old or 82 years old, we can still put a smile on their faces. Many times we will just hold their hands and talk to them.”
Harlan is an avid sportsman and is a friend with Larry Green. Larry’s son, John, is a well know wildlife painter from Madison. Larry was a good painter also. “In the early 80’s dad helped organize the Lake County Pro Pheasants. They wanted to create a group that would keep the money local and support the pheasant population in Lake County. John agreed to do the paintings for the banquets. The relationship grew over time. John actually painted the photo of Harlan in his hobo clown suit.”
Anderson’s goal “is your satisfaction”. “We have been in the same location since dad purchased the business. Dad has taught me to treat our customers fair and always give them the benefit of the doubt. We genuinely care about our customers. Some larger companies can’t relate to customers. We are family owned and have been in business 36 years.” Amy adds,“We understand that you have to take kids to soccer, you have to get to work, and we accommodate people so they can keep their life as normal as possible getting through this problem in their life. We offer free loaner cars and try to take the hassle out of your situation. It is always a discouraging situation when your car is busted up and we use our knowledge to make things less painful for our customers. All you have to do is drop your car off and give us an insurance claim number and we take care of the rest.” Jeremy says, “repair pricing is pretty standard but what separates us is we try harder to look for efficiencies to help save our customers a little bit more money. We are here to do the best job as competitively priced as possible. Our staff is experienced and talented. We have a team of professionals that share responsibilities for the vehicles we work on. Our painter, Dennis, has been with us since 1992. Travis has been with us for seven years. “
“We are a preferred provider for many popular insurance companies. We offer paintless dent repair, which is an affordable option when applicable. It is easier, quicker, and more cost efficient to do than traditional body repair. However, it is not a good process if the paint is fractured and cracked. The key to this part of our business is having the experience and expertise to know when to use this process. We also provide a towing service. We will pick up your car and bring it back for repair. It is a convenience for our customers. We do not have to rely on another towing company to pick up our customer’s vehicle. We are the only one that offers this service. We also offer windshield chip repair and glass replacement. A real customer convenience is our mobile estimating. If you can’t drive your car in or you are busy and can’t bring it by for us to give you an estimate, we have a mobile estimating service where we come to you to give you an estimate. Some people still think you need to get three estimates but that is no longer true. It is always good to get a couple estimates for comparison purposes. We do offer custom painting but it is not a large part of our business.”
Amy has been greeting customers at Anderson’s for the past 12 years. “Although I have not done the work I know all of the steps necessary to service the car,” says Amy. “My job is to help facilitate our customers with getting on with their life. Help them get through this unfortunate situation in their life. We have had people call us and tell us that they just had an accident and their friends recommended they call us to fix it. We are proud of this because customer service, experience and expertise are one of many things that separate us from our competitors.”
A couple examples of their dedication to customer service involve an out of state family that hit a deer when they came back for a funeral. A relative of theirs suggested Anderson’s to them. They went thru the estimating process, provided a loaner car and completed the repair. “We helped them get through a tough time in their life while they were here.”
Another example was a family that was traveling from Nebraska on their way to North Dakota. They hit a deer along the way. “We worked day and night to get them back on the road. They were going through a rough time financially and did not have any money for the repair. With some assistance from the local Red Cross they also helped put them up in a hotel while they repaired their vehicle.
So whether it is seeing Harlan in his hobo outfit or hearing the comforting voice of Amy when you call to request an estimate, Anderson’s lives up to its’ goal of satisfaction guaranteed.