As we start our story, let your mind wander back to the Grand Rapids of yesteryear, where soda fountains and drive-in movie theaters were the norm. The year is 1958 and a gentleman named Walter Pawloski has just started Star Body Shop, a small northeast side auto body repair shop.
Fast forward nine years. Walter is starting to think about retirement and is seeking a suitable individual to continue on his little endeavor. Asking around town, he happens upon Roger Williams, the service and repair manager at Van Andel & Flikkema dealership. Convinced Roger is the person for the task, Walter hires him for the job with the expectation that Roger will purchase the Star Body Shop after a 3-5 year apprenticeship. As fate would have it, both Roger and Walter were ready to take the plunge after only one year, Walter into retirement and Roger into newly minted business owner.
Shortly after taking the reins, Roger changed the name to Star Collision and set forth on taking his new business to the next level.
The Expansion Years
Having run a successful family operation for over 30 years, Roger and his son Dan Williams decided it was time to expand the business. With many of their customers, and employees alike, already driving in from the northern suburbs, Rockford was the logical location for expansion, alas; CARSTAR of Rockford was opened in 2000.
With Dan and general manager John Shattuck working to successfully gain a foothold in Rockford, Roger set his sights closer to home. Always being a member of the Creston Business Association, Roger and a few other members of the CBA decided it was time for the 1st annual Creston Car Show. With the car show came an increase in custom car work for Star Collision and what better way to thank their customers then to create a new division dedicated to custom car work and auto restorations? And Star Customs was born.
Only a few years old, the Star Customs division of Star Collision has already grown to be known as one of the premier body shops for classic cars, auto restorations, and custom modifications in the Grand Rapids area.
Auto Glass Experts?
In 2005, Star Collision, along with 7 other CARSTAR owners throughout West Michigan set forth to improve the auto glass process. Joining forces with two auto glass experts, ALLSTAR Glass Company was formed with the sole purpose to get faster auto glass service and improved work quality at the area CARSTAR locations.
Fully operated by the two auto glass experts, ALLSTAR Glass has dramatically improved the turn around times at the area CARSTAR locations and has ventured into and built a successful mobile glass company for all area residents as well.
The Makings of the (Rockford) Motor Mile…
Flanked by a mechanical and towing company, the dynamic duo of John Shattuck and Dan Williams set their sights on building the Rockford Motor Mile. The opportunity to purchase River Valley Auto and Towing, a fixture in the Rockford community for years, arose first. Offering auto repair, auto maintenance, propane filling, and 24 Hour Towing, River Valley Auto is the ideal complement to the Star Family.
While revamping the existing systems at River Valley Auto, John & Dan were introduced to Laslo (Les) Cosmor, owner of ImportTech and an expert in all foreign makes and models. John and Dan thought for a minute, hmmmm, what don’t we offer and the answer was clear…import work. A partnership was formed and ImportTech was now part of the family.
The Finishing Touches
Now consisting of Star Collision, Star Customs, CARSTAR of Rockford, ALLSTAR Glass, River Valley Auto & Towing, and ImportTech, the entire Star Family took a step back and asked themselves, “What are we still missing? What can we do as a team to better serve our customers? What can we add to our unique automotive experience to further set us apart from others in our industry?”
After a short deliberation, the answer was simple…cars.
“We repair cars, maintain them, customize them, but we don’t offer them? Shouldn’t we be able to provide our customers with a rental car when needed, or better yet, sell them a vehicle if theirs has been deemed to be totaled?”
So to complete our tale, Rockford Motors, a pre-owned vehicle dealership, was purchased and renamed River Valley Motors and both CARSTAR of Rockford and Star Collision began giving free loaner cars and River Valley Auto became a certified Hertz Rental Car Location.
The Next Generation…
Provide the best customer experience in the industry. That is our motto, our driving force, and how we have come to grow our business into the present Star Family of Companies.
Honesty and integrity is the philosophy we utilize and automotive unity is the process we employ. That’s why we do all we do, because no matter the automotive problem, we aim to simply take care of our customers.