Town Line Body Shop in Monroe, Connecticut was purchased by Ronald Poidomani Sr. in 1975 with the goal of providing quality and timely collision and auto body repair. Ron Sr. had brought on Ron Jr. as a VP of the business about two years ago. They had been working side by side at Town Line, with the eventual goal of Ron Jr. taking the business over. When the crisis hit, that plan needed to be adjusted to reflect Ron Sr. then working from home.
The Town Line team knew what to do. They were always a close-knit unit. But now they needed to be an even tighter and more productive group while keeping Ron Sr.’s original goal of providing quality auto body repair services to the community at the forefront of everything they did.
Always with Ron Sr. overseeing the business remotely, Ron Jr., Shop Manager Richie Reyes and the Town Line crew planned correctly and in advance of what was coming. New policies and procedures were in place a full 3 weeks ahead of when Connecticut instituted the state mandates for essential businesses. Social distancing protocols were tested and formalized for both customers and the Town Line team. These included solutions to the crew wanting the shop to be opened up on beautiful Connecticut days in Spring. Bright yellow chains were roped across the shop – that way the team could work in comfort, while any customers that came to the shop, knew that they couldn’t walk into the business. They also established strict guidelines for access to the shop’s front office – customers need to buzz in and ask for entry plus only one customer at a time are allowed. And for vendors, they must stay in their car and one Town Line employee talks to that vendor – this specific procedure will continue after the crisis subsides in Monroe, Connecticut.
Previous to March, Ron Sr. always had regular weekly meetings with the group. But since transparency and communication are always key components for a well-run shop, they increased the shop meetings. And they usually start with Ron Jr. and Richie asking the question, “how’s everybody doing?” And they mean it. This is not meant as a social nicety. Everyone in the group wants to know how each fellow team member is handling the crisis. Are their kids being home schooled and how is that effecting their families. How are they doing from both a mental and physical standpoint and how can they help one another. Town Line has a talented group of professionals with years of experience in the collision industry – with many of those years at Town Line. They are a family and truly care about one another. Especially during the height of the crisis. All of this with Ron Sr. continuing to give input and direction from his home.
Ron Jr. and Richie were very aware of employee morale and how this unique time in our country could lead to a sense of uncertainty with the team. They told each employee that they, as a team, could get through the situation. That their job would be needed. That as an essential business Town Line would get through it. By reassuring and communicating this with everyone, and continuing with meetings and ongoing communication, a sense of confidence was given to everyone at Town Line.
An aspect of the business that now has a greater emphasis is Marketing. Town Line has a beautiful website that is continually updated. The Town Line social platforms have new and interesting posts each week. This includes Facebook but also Instagram – an important platform for collision shops. Plus other effective marketing actions, such as postcards targeting the Town Line area of service in and around Monroe, Connecticut.
During the worst period, the Town Line team got together and painted the interior of the shop. After all, it’s always been a clean and organized shop, but they wanted to emphasis that aspect of the business even more during this time. This was an example of the team spirit that represents the best of Town Line Body Shop. Ron Sr. also made sure to show his gratitude in other ways like buying breakfast for the team. He plans on building an outside barbeque so they can start grilling in the afternoon.
Ron Sr. and Ron Jr. know that the business would not have made it through the past few months without the talented and dedicated team. They are truly a family. The entire crew worked side-by-side to push through any issues that came down. The Town Line team did this together. With a special shout-out to Shop Manager, Richie Reyes. Ron Jr. and Richie were partners during the worst of the pandemic. They continue to be today. “We both worked very hard to make all this work. The entire situation was a team effort,” says Ron. Rich has been with Town Line for over 23 years and he is an integral part of the continued success of the business.
While the worst may be over, the crisis has not ended. As a collision shop, it has affected the industry in ways that will be felt for some time to come. There are and will be obstacles in front of the collision industry as a whole, including Town Line. But the dedicated Town Line team feels confident that with each other and with proper planning and preparation, that the shop can get through 2020 stronger than before.