Customer care a goal for one-stop auto repair shop

There have been myriad changes in the automobile industry since Ellis & Salazar Garage & Body Shop first opened its doors for auto body repairs in 1953, President Jack Nash said.

"It used to be a car came in, it was made out of heavy metal and you'd pop the metal back out and put a lot of Bondo [auto-body filler] on it and repaint it and send it down the road. And now it's just technically advanced," he said.

New automotive technologies range from computer controls to frame-mounted machines equipped with collision repair systems that measure where every part is supposed to be inside a vehicle, he said.

Ellis & Salazar is an Austin-based automotive repair business offering auto body repair, mechanical services, collision repair and painting. Its owners grew up in Austin's car business, working for body shops and dealerships.

Nash purchased the company along with co-owner Wayne Burklund in 1989 from Chester Salazar. Joseph Lewright joined the business in 1990 and became a co-owner 10 years later.

"We've always tried to stay true to our roots," Lewright said.

The company now operates four Ellis & Salazar locations, including two in the North Austin area.

Competition from national chains has increased significantly during the past several years, Lewright said.

The company has survived, Nash said, because Ellis & Salazar has remained steadfast in its core values for the past 60 years—performing quality repairs, treating customers fairly and taking care of employees.

"We're not in the tire business, but if a customer comes in here and wants tires we'll find the best deal on the tires and get [them] put on for them because a lot of times they'd rather not have to go to three locations," Nash said.

Ellis & Salazar aims to serve as a one-stop shop, Burklund said.

"I have customers that I've worked on their car back in '83 that have followed me and are still doing business with me today," Burklund said.

Nearly half of Ellis & Salazar's business is repeat business, Lewright said.

"We try to develop a relationship with our customers. ... We want the customer to be here by choice," Lewright said.

Giving back

Employees at Ellis & Salazar Garage & Body Shop volunteer their time to a different charitable organization each month as part of its DoGooders effort.

Started about six months ago, the program has benefited organizations and events including the Fiesta Fun Run in Kyle, the MLK Day of Service and Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Additionally, Ellis & Salazar co-owner Joseph Lewright has coordinated for the past 12 years with businesses and local organization Child Inc. to help provide refurbished vehicles to families in need.

The company also partners with local schools and civic organizations.

Ellis and Salazar Garage and Body Shop 8808 Research Blvd., 512-459-8808 Hours: Mon.–Fri. 7:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Ellis and Salazar Garage and Body Shop 8425 Anderson Mill Road 512-249-2600 Hours: Mon.–Fri. 7:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.