After six years in Caseyville, Frank Vilmer was planning a relocate north to Madison County, when the deal fell through. His next choice was one that ended up keeping him in town and his client base in tact. He recently talked to business writer Will Buss about his move:
Q: How did this move come about?
A: “We had formerly been (at 8809 Maple Ave.) in Caseyville on the other side of I-64. I had been there for the last six years and was looking to move for the last three. I had a contract on another place and was going to leave the area, and it kind of fell through and ended up being a blessing. We found this place that would suit our needs with much more space and we got to stay in the area where we were so we could retain all of our customers.”
Q: What is the range of service you provide?
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A: “We do some light-duty mechanical service, but mostly auto body repair and collision, some paint work and small stuff to full collision.”
Q: How did you get started?
A: “I started as a young guy. It was just some hobby stuff. I was a ‘hot-rodder’ and had some old cars. And as a young guy, you don’t have the money, but I got into it and really had the knack for it and liked it. I decided to go to school for it, so I went to school and it just went on from there.”
Q: Where were you trained?
A: “The school’s closed now. It was in the ’80s. It was Metro Tech Center, and it was in the downtown St. Louis area. I think it was an old dealership that was a school. I think Bailey Tech was there and some other schools.”
Q: How do you compete with others?
A: “I think we’re an in-between shop. We’re a bit bigger than a mom-and-pop-type shop, but we can still give the personal service to our customers, but not like the big chain shops. We’re an independent, and we do a pretty good volume of work.”
Q: What is your focus looking ahead at your new location?
A: “To me, if you stay the same, you can get stagnant. I do some car sales; we do some rebuilding; and we can offer some cheaper later-model transportation that’s good for lot of college students and families who want to get their kids a car through high school and college. We’re going to get a little bit more into the rebuilding. We’ve done that in the past and have had some success with that, and I’m just looking for some more relationships with some of the insurance companies to do insurance collision work.”
- Job: Owner, Allstar Collision at 1903 N. 89th St. in Caseyville
- Outlook: “We found this place that would suit our needs with much more space, and we got to stay in the area where we were at so we could retain all of our customers.”