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The exterior of CSN-Kavia Auto Body's new facility.

By Jeff Sanford

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan -- January 27, 2016 -- The 24 employees of CSN-Kavia Auto Body will spend the next couple of weeks getting used to a brand new facility. Two weeks ago, Raj Kavia, the facility’s owner, closed the doors temporarily, and a well-thought out plan went into action. The Big Move was made.

Bookings had been intentionally slowed down over the two weeks previous. All of the staff pitched in, transferring 11 vehicles and the contents of the entire facility. Friday, the new shop was set up and by Monday morning they were back in business.

“The move was not bad,” said Raj Kavia, in a follow-up interview. “We were fully operational. We had a booth running, airlines in place. Monday morning we were painting.”

Kavia had talked the week before the move with Collision Repair magazine. Calling back to see how things went, the news was good. “With 24 employees it wasn't so bad. Everyone helped out. So it wasn't too bad. The car wash pumps were heavy,” says Kavia.

Employees are sure to like the new location. It is a state-of-the-art. According to its owner, the facility sets the bar for sophistication in shop technology in the province.

A year ago Kavia bought a parcel of land in Saskatoon. He looked at it as a chance to design a collision repair facility from the ground up. Kavia took full advantage of the opportunity. PPG designers came in and helped Kavia bring his ideas to fruition.

“They helped lay out the floor plan with me. We implemented all of that,” says Kavia. “We have all new booths, new prep stations. Air conditioning in the back. The air system replaces all the air in the facility every 40 minutes. We have a new coffee and lunch room, showers and dedicated parking for employees.”

The brand new 21,000 sq. ft. facility features two brand new compressors, two car wash bays, a central vac, two estimating bays and new hoists. There is also lots of natural light, as the design of the building employs a lot of glass. The very best detail? The spray booths are equipped with Blue Tooth connected speakers, so “… each sprayer can be in there and rocking away,” says Kavia, with some excitement.

The new shop will be built on land that Kavia bought in 2014. The builders managed to get the new space up in just nine months. It was a “very aggressive schedule” according to Kavia. But they got it done. And now they can enjoy a brand new facility. “It's all new equipment. We're excited to be in there.”

CSN-Kavia Auto Body had occupied a high-traffic location at 1st Avenue North in downtown Saskatoon since 2007. It was a good location with plenty of traffic, but Kavia says the new location is even better.

“We're still downtown. We're just moving eight blocks downtown. We wanted to stay downtown. But now, on this new street, we have 20,000 people going by here every day,” he says.

Key to the move was a solid plan. Employees were brought in on the plans early and kept abreast of developments.

“We've been touring them through the whole process. They seem to be engaging with it and seem pretty happy. We had them engaged from the get go. We put the plans up in coffee room for them to see,” says Kavia.

They slowed booking for the last couple of weeks so that there were relatively few cars in the shop. The planning paid off. If Kavia has advice for anyone else undertaking such a venture, it's this: “Lot's of planning. That's the key. Eight years ago we moved and it took longer then. With this one we had plans that explained where everything goes. Every garbage can was planned. It's easier to throw away a paper than to tear down a wall. You'll never plan enough,” says Kavia.

The new facility is certainly eye-catching. Clients and neighbours are showing interest.

“We've had a couple of people walk in and ask what was going on. People from the neighbourhood have watched the building go up. They were wondering what it was going to be,” says Kavia. “And now we're busy. We're booked more than two weeks out."

For more information, please visit kavia.ca.


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