By Josh White
Belleville, Ontario — June 19, 2017 — 102 years old never looked so good. Campbell’s Auto Shop in Belleville has been open since 1915, when the collision repair industry was strikingly different. In fact, founder Matt Campbell was repairing and painting carriages at the time the doors opened to the public. Once automobiles began dominating the streets of Belleville, Campbell’s adapted to the changing times. Although motor vehicles were not as plentiful then, Campbell foresaw the growing future of the collision industry and started service traditions that remain today.
Campbell’s Auto Shop remained in the family until the mid-1950s when partners were brought into the business. In the years since the shop has continued to grow, and upgrades were frequently made to fit the technology of the quickly developing industry.
The current owner Rick MacDonald began working at Campbell’s in 1971. Although there have been many changes and additions to the shop, there is one thing that he says has stayed the same: the service.
“Sixty-five percent of our customers are repeat and they tell people about the good we do here,” said MacDonald. “It’s all the advertising we need.”
Mike Vadja, Executive Director of Quinte Vocational Support Services and long-time customer, trusts only Campbell’s with his classic ’77 Camaro. “They’ve been great, I use them for my company too. I know I only need to bring it in once and it will be good,” said Vadja. Being a Campbell’s Auto Shop customer for 25 years, Vadja said, “It’s their workmanship and customer service,” that keep him coming back. Over the time he has been a customer, Vadja sees the biggest change being a larger staff to accommodate a growing clientele.
Although he is hoping to retire next year, MacDonald is keeping the shop in the family. His son Jeff will likely be the successor of the shop, continuing the Campbell’s Auto Shop tradition of serving the Belleville community. MacDonald’s grandchild, Payden, is currently apprenticing at the shop and is set to finish in 2018.
MacDonald said the proud reputation that Campbell’s began in 1915 is still carried on through their service. Although it now belongs to a different family, Campbell’s still does business under the same name. MacDonald says Campbell’s guarantees the work they do; confident that after 102 years, the shop can still do the best for the client and their vehicle.
Campbell’s Auto Shop is the first member of Collision Repair magazine’s “Century Club,” celebrating shops that have been in business for 100 years or more. Does your shop qualify? Get in touch with us via email to firstname.lastname@example.org!
For more information about Campbell’s Auto Shop, visit campbellsautoshop.ca.