Outlook 2023: This Springfield auto body shop is probably best known for its billboards

Shirley Beal

Excellent buyer services and a unique assure on workmanship for the lifetime of a automobile fueled the level of popularity and development of Rick’s Vehicle Body in Springfield around the yrs.

But, it was a sharp wit that also proved a stellar advertising instrument for Raymond “Rick” Recor.

The owner’s warranty and wordsmithing began in the mid-1990s. Recor was operating out of a store on Verge Road then and was embroiled in conflict with insurance companies above reimbursements.

His reaction to the conflict was the creation of a single hand-painted billboard. It featured a blue 1957 Chevrolet with the terms, “Classic Excellent. Life span Warranty.” Recor also ran a full-web page ad in the Sunday Republican to tackle the insurance coverage problem and his position on it.

The messaging propelled Rick’s to fast popularity. In excess of time, the business released new messaging frequently, and at one particular time, experienced 25 billboards from Springfield to West Springfield to Ludlow.

Recor arrived up with some of the just one-liners and also ran contests and presented funds awards for cleverness, like:

“We fastened Abe’s Lincoln.”

“Love me fender.” (Finish with a caricature of Elvis.)

And most a short while ago, “Make The united states Gracious Yet again,” a common a person.

Together with the phone range that Recor secured — 413-543-DENT, the billboards set the car human body store aside.

Rick's Auto Body Marks 50 years in business

Rick Recor, proprietor of Rick’s Vehicle Entire body in Springfield, goes in excess of paperwork at his desk. (Steven E. Nanton photograph)

Claims Recor, “The telephone commenced to ring. To this day, 30 years later on, people today even now talk about our billboards.”

Rick’s Car Body has been situated at 375 Pasco Road in Springfield since 1997. “I’m nonetheless listed here each individual working day, early morning ‘til night time,” he says. “It’s not absentee ownership.”

Rick’s has approximately 50 bays for repairs in just just about 45,000 sq. ft of space and repairs around 3,000 vehicles each year. Recor and Rick’s wife and co-operator, Mari Tarpinian, are in particular very pleased and grateful for their 49 faithful workforce, lots of of whom had been once interns from Putnam Vocational Academy. Just after currently being hired, lots of of these college students were being promoted above time into administration and leadership roles.

Tarpinian, provides, “We have the very best employees.”

Rick's Auto Body Marks 50 years in business

Tim Clark, a painter, prepares to travel a auto out of the paint booth at Rick’s Automobile Physique in Springfield. (Steven E. Nanton photograph)

Recor suggests, “We have been blessed with the greatest management team—the coronary heart and soul of Rick’s. Mike Haniffy, our creation manager Chuck Laprade, our functions manager and Susan Tarpinian, our business office supervisor, share a combined tenure of more than 75 many years right here.”

Recor’s interns aren’t considerably more mature than he was when he received started out in the small business at 18. The Ludlow native give up university in the 10th-grade and discovered the trade, working alongside his father in a company an individual else owned. In 1969, Recor went to operate for other market professionals in Springfield, opening his individual spot in 1972.

That 1st store, in Chicopee, was modest, with just one bay and a dirt flooring. “I experienced to wet the filth and hose it down and wander around thoroughly so I did not splash the mud up on the car while I was portray,” Recor recalls.

In 1973, Rick’s moved to a 6-bay store, but a fireplace in 1978 considered it was a total loss. He quickly obtained the 10-bay shop on Verge Avenue and commenced more than.

Rick's Auto Body Marks 50 years in business

Susan Tarpinian, workplace supervisor, in her workplace at Rick’s Car Body in Springfield. (Steven E. Nanton image)

Back then, Tarpinian claims, it was a male-dominated business. Adult males came in with their wives’, sisters’ or daughters’ motor vehicles. “It’s not like that anymore,” she says. This, in portion because Rick’s built an intentional energy to make ladies really feel welcome and comfy.

Recor states his consumers assortment in age from 16 to 99. “The demographics of our prospects is substantial,” he adds.

Rick’s is accredited in 13 automobile makes, Mercedes-Benz between them, and these vehicles demand specialized applications, machines and schooling. “We truly come to feel as however we are an asset to our group,” Recor suggests. “We’re in this article, performing a services for people today, assisting them to navigate by means of the mend method. We consider our shopper assistance incredibly seriously and constantly have. We’re a person shop, underneath one roof. We’re actually very pleased of that.”

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