When Eric Grossman opened his Tucson, AZ. collision repair shop in 1977, he was eager to do everything possible to provide his business with a competitive leg up, including enrolling in I-CAR’s new Gold Class training recognition program in 1990. Thirty years later, Grossman’s shop, Eric Auto Center CARSTAR, has entered into a league of its own as the world’s first collision repair shop to attain 30 consecutive years in I-CAR’s Gold Class program.
Achieving and maintaining I-CAR’s Gold Class designation means a business has met the industry’s standard for training that contributes to complete, safe and quality repairs. More than 8,600 shops throughout the country are currently recognized as Gold Class, with Eric’s Auto Center CARSTAR the first-in-the-world to hold that ranking for 30 consecutive years.
“It’s helped put our credibility at the door, not only with customers, but with the industry,” he said.
Grossman said achieving this honor comes down to a shop’s goal. “While many things change in business, there’s a certain KPI that comes from having consistency in what you do, what you focus on, invest in, and believe in over time. Training and education are that for us. Today, you have to consistently train and expand your knowledge base to fix these new cars.”
Stacey Moellering, I-CAR AVP, Marketing & Segment Development, applauds Grossman on serving as an example for the industry.
“You inspire the inter-industry to raise the bar, not only for each collision repair business striving for complete, safe and quality repairs on behalf of the consumer, but to every technician that enters this industry,” she said. “I’ve been fortunate to watch your progression when you achieved 25 consecutive years and am thrilled to continue awarding you with this first-ever, continuous 30-year Gold Class distinction. As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of I-CAR’s Gold Class program, we celebrate Eric’s Auto Center CARSTAR in its unwavering dedication to this extraordinary commitment.”
Over the three decades, Grossman believes his staff has completed “thousands” of courses. “There were plenty of years I wondered if I should continue, but I honestly don’t see how you cannot be [committed to training],” he said. “If you want to do collision repair, you have to be trained. You just have to.”
Grossman has also seen the quality of the Gold Class program improve over the years; the improvements have helped strengthen his business and deepen the knowledge and skills base of his technicians.
He also said he rests easy at night, knowing his team has “done everything possible to fix a car correctly.”
What’s the next training goal for Grossman? “I can’t let it [the title] go now,” Grossman quipped, noting that he’s on track to be qualified for his 31st consecutive year of Gold Class. “I have no intention of stopping.”