|Bruce and Cathy Killinger (left) are selling their CARSTAR locations to Wendy and Rick Yates (right). CARSTAR Hamilton Midtown was the second independent facility to join CARSTAR after the banner came to Canada.|
Hamilton, Ontario — September 2, 2014 — After 33 years in business and thousands of repaired vehicles, husband and wife team Bruce and Cathy Killinger will be handing over the keys to their CARSTAR Hamilton Midtown and CARSTAR Express Midtown West locations this week.
Bruce and Cathy have worked together since they first opened the doors in 1981. They feel that the time is right for selling their business, and have confidence in the team that will take over ownership.
Another husband and wife team; Rick and Wendy Yates, who between them possess over 50 years of experience in the automotive/insurance/operations and customer service industry will be taking the reins at both locations. As Rick Yates puts it, â€œwe want to grow this terrific business as Bruce and Cathy have over the last 30 years and to continue with their tradition of excellence.â€
Rick, who was previously a senior member at TD Insurance and most recently CARSTARâ€™s Director of Franchise Development, will be partnered by his wife Wendy, who will lend her extensive experience in marketing, logistics, and product delivery to running the business.
â€œThey actually remind us of ourselves from way backâ€ says Bruce Killinger, â€œBoth Cathy and I see a lot of ourselves in Rick and Wendy. They are both ambitious and dedicated, and most importantly their values align with ours. This has been a family run business for over 30 years, and Rick and Wendy will continue it as such. We really couldnâ€™t have left our business in better hands.â€
CARSTAR Hamilton Midtown was the second independent collision centre to join CARSTAR in 1995, shortly after Sam Mercanti brought the CARSTAR banner to Canada.
â€œWe always respected Sam, even when we were in direct competition with him,â€ says Cathy, â€œHe was always a gentleman and a visionary in our business.â€
When long-time friend Larry Jefferies approached the Killingers about joining the CARSTAR banner almost 20 years ago, their mind was already made up.
â€œI was skeptical about banners and DRPs when they were first talked about way back then, but when I saw Sam Mercanti and Larry Jefferies stake their futures on it, we knew it was something we wanted to be part of. Iâ€™ll always be thankful to Larry and Sam for welcoming us into the CARSTAR family.â€
On the transition of ownership from the Killingers to the Yates family, Bruce commented, â€œfor years, CARSTAR promised to help facilitate any succession plans. Itâ€™s nice to be able to say thank you to them for making this transition so smooth and for welcoming Rickâ€™s departure from a corporate role into a franchise partner.â€
Having worked in the industry since the age of 16, Bruce is still a licensed body man and appraiser who, like Cathy, has no plans of slowing down. When asked about their future, Bruce said â€œWeâ€™re entering a new phase as they say. Whether thatâ€™s work, travel or anything else for that matter, weâ€™re really just looking forward to time with our family. Our children have played a massive role in our success, so now weâ€™ll have some more time to spend with them and our grandchildren. â€
In the immediate future, both Bruce and Cathy will continue to work with Rick and Wendy Yates to bring them up to speed on the day-to-day intricacies of the business.
â€œBruce and Cathy have built a fantastic business with a terrific team over the last thirty years,â€ says Rick. â€œLike them we are looking for a new challenge. We have both left established careers to pursue this dream and with the support of CARSTAR we are sure we can continue to be a successful member of the CARSTAR family.â€
On their time with CARSTAR, Bruce says, â€œI want to thank CARSTAR for supporting us every step of the way since 1995. I can honestly say that joining CARSTAR was the best business decision we ever made.â€
For more information on CARSTAR, please visit carstar.ca.