IBIS Africa

The collision repair industry just got a touch more glamorous with the addition of Owen Nkumane and Front Row Auto Body. Owen has spent the last two years learning about the body shop business, and preparing to get this new business off the ground. After he suffered a knee injury as a professional rugby player, he looked to other career opportunities. His most famous choice being in the broadcasting space as a presenter for Super Sport.

Cindy Schutz is the expertise behind this new shop and has been in the industry since 2006. She was the owner of the Auto Magic shop in Alberton and upon selling her successful enterprise, worked for the same holding company for six years. She has a great passion for mentoring individuals in the motor industry and she saw this male dominated space as a challenge and opportunity to make a difference.

The body shop is 1200m2, and based in Cresta, Johannesburg. As their doors have only recently opened, they are still growing their staff complement as the business grows. The team at Front Row Auto Body understand that training is imperative to the best quality work and achieving a healthy bottom line. They are also looking at various apprenticeship programmes and they will pursue this in the new year.

The business has a fully equipped speed shop, eight preparation bays, overhead infrared curing lamps, a drive-through spraybooth with a separate oven and a six bay car wash. They are also SAMBRA approved and have recently received Bureau Veritas standards certification.

The biggest challenge for the business at present is funding and procurement. “Being a new business it is very difficult as many financial institutions require a business to be running for a minimum of three years before there’s any consideration with financial assistance,” says Cindy.

That said, Cindy understands that the body shop industry takes a lot of hard work, long hours and consistency to make it successful. She and her team know that it’s their care that sets them apart. The care they take in customer interaction to deliver outstanding and quality workmanship. The care to go the extra mile for each client.

“Every customer is important to us, just like our name suggests they will be in the “Front Row” of outstanding service,” Cindy concluded.