Quality Collision changes name, location

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Quality Collision of Columbia and Waterloo recently underwent a name change along with a big move, with the mechanic and repair part of the business finding a new home in Waterloo’s former Sears building.

The newly dubbed Quality Auto Repair is stepping away from the auto body aspect of the business and placing a new focus on mechanical work.

Owner Chris Kalbfleisch said the big change has come as the business has struggled with the loss of employees due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kalbfleisch said his previous shops at 156 Southwoods Drive in Columbia and 1353 State Route 3 in Waterloo have been purchased by Caliber Collision – a national auto care company – and will continue to offer auto body services with the same auto body professionals.

Along with members of his team who focus on vehicle repair, Kalbfleisch’s business has moved to 1349 Jamie Lane in Waterloo, and they’re already offering their services to the community.

“I knew that we were selling the auto body side of things, so I wanted to be able to keep a business open to do just the mechanical stuff and the maintenance,” Kalbfleisch said.

Kalbfleisch’s previous business started 20 years ago in Columbia as a small shop that saw steady growth. He eventually purchased a different property in Columbia, starting there in 2010.

In 2013, Kalbfleisch set up another shop in Waterloo, and while Columbia continued to be his primary business, the secondary location still saw its fair share of business.

Kalbfleisch’s experience with cars started as a young boy, with his father having his own interest in hot rods and muscle cars.

Growing up, Kalbfleisch worked with cars as he went through school, taking a particular interest in the auto body side of things, especially the painting.

His business started out with that same focus, eventually expanding its range of services to towing, then mechanical repair in 2010 and diesel repair following that.

“It grew both directions,” Kalbfleisch said. “Auto body is very strong there as well as mechanical stuff. It’s all been very busy. We’ve never really had any slow times.”

In regard to any real struggles, Kalbfleisch only pointed to the staff shortage experienced since the pandemic, saying his team of 40 in 2019 has since dwindled to 27.

Despite that recent issue, Kalbfleisch said his shops have received consistently good business over the years, and he credits that success to the quality work his team puts in.

“We’ve always had a reputation of being honest and doing good work, and that’s the best advertisement you can have,” Kalbfleisch said. “You do a repair for a customer one time, and if you treat them good they typically come back all the time. That’s how we’ve always operated our business, and we have very strong following because of that.”

Looking ahead, Kalbfleisch said Quality Auto Repair’s new emphasis on maintenance work will allow for some additional services.

He mentioned an expansion to the business’s diesel services as well as the purchase of an Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems wheel alignment program that will allow the shop to better service newer vehicles with additional safety features like backup cameras.

“We are expanding on the mechanical side of things,” Kalbfleisch said. “We got a lot of new equipment. New computer scanners. We can do more programming for the new cars than what we used to be able to do.”

He added that he and his team will be getting training for electric vehicle maintenance. Kalbfleisch recently hired a mechanic well-versed in electric vehicles, and he said he expects them to become a notably bigger part of their business in the years to come.

Though he will miss the members of his team staying at his old shops, Kalbfleisch also expressed hope that the new standalone shop will allow him to get out of the office and get busy with some of the work he’s been missing these last few years.

He added that Quality Auto Repair will continue to provide the level of service the previous business was known for, and while they’ll no longer be doing auto body work, Kalbfleisch is still happy to explain the process.

“We still plan to do the same great repairs and the same great service that we’ve always done,” Kalbfleisch said.

Quality Auto Repair is open 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information, call 618-939-AUTO or email quality5@htc.net.

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