Auto collision repair is big business. There are about a dozen shops in Kelowna, most operating as small, private companies.
But Mark Reineking and his partner, Brad Kopp, hope to one day own a majority of them. They own a company called the Lift Auto Group.
“Lift Auto Group is a company that we founded to start consolidating collision repair companies across Canada,” said Reineking, Lift Auto Group president.
They’re in the process of buying collision repair shops and so far have acquired three high profile companies: Kelowna Performance Collision, Springfield Auto Body and Mark V Auto Body. They will operate under the banner of CSN Collision Centres.
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Reineking says the timing was right.
“The fact that a lot of the current owner-operators are looking for a succession plan, it’s perfect timing for us to get out and be a consolidator in the open market,” said Reineking.
Lift Auto Group says the biggest challenge the industry is facing right now is keeping up with technology and training, and amalgamating shops will help accomplish that.
Of course, buying up most of the auto body shops in town takes money. And Lift Auto Group is getting help from a brand new fund made up of banks and insurance companies called the Canadian Business Growth Fund — a first for the CBGF.
“We appreciate the ability to make our first investment in Kelowna,” said Rossolatos of CBGF. “As you might not have appreciated, we’re brand new as a fund. We launched on June 19 and we’re really proud that our first deal is in B.C.”
The CBGF’s deal is worth $15 million — no tax dollars involved.