The Canadian representatives of CARSTAR collision shops and Driven Glass franchisees met for the first time in Montreal from 18 to 20 July under the theme Evolution.
Over the three days, CARSTAR shop owners and Vitro Plus franchisees, Le Docteur du Pare-brise, Uniglass, Go Glass and Star Autoglass, representing some 500 participants, were treated to presentations by Driven Brands’ Canadian management and specialist workshops. All of this is enriched by charitable and social activities that enable them to forge new links.
In total, the group has 343 CARSTAR collision shops across Canada and 268 auto glass repair and replacement centres.
The event opened with a charity walk along the quays of the Old Port of Montreal, which alone raised over $10,000 for the fight against cystic fibrosis. While the meeting was about leadership and business development, it also emphasised the importance of giving back to the community. It was one of a number of initiatives carried out during the meeting, notably in aid of the Club des Petits Déjeuners and the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation.
The event opened with presentations by Sabrina Thring and Maurice Filion on the challenges facing the collision and auto glass sectors in Canada. Michael Macaluso, Senior Vice President of Driven Brands and President of the Paint, Collision and Auto Glass Group, then outlined the network’s situation and the importance of evolving as a group of entrepreneurs.
“The success of our franchisees is the very basis of the Group’s growth,” he told participants. “Our entire team is working to ensure that you are winners. He concluded his speech by stressing the importance of ensuring a balance of profits between workshops, their suppliers and insurers.
The first day of conferences ended with a presentation by sportsman and speaker Georges Laraque, who addressed the issue of resilience and encouraged shop owners to make a positive difference. A celebratory dinner followed at Jardin Royalmount, where participants were treated to a show by the group Arkells.
The second day of activities was also rich in content and networking opportunities. Divided into plenary sessions and specialised workshops in small groups, the day’s events included a talk by Sabrina Thring, President of CARSTAR Canada, who spoke about the origins of the brand and its values. She reiterated the importance of being a leader at the service of businesses. “By prioritising the well-being of our employees and our community, your business will reach a new level.”
She also emphasized the mission of CARSTAR collision shop owners to provide customers with unparalleled service, high-quality vehicle repairs and repeatable results.
She said that the remainder of 2023 will be devoted to improving bilateral communications, continuing to build on our strong relationships with suppliers, insurers, fleets and original equipment partners.
Maurice Filion, head of the Canadian auto glass division, spoke about Driven Glass Canada’s growth, outlining targets for increasing network sales across Canada, creating additional profits, increasing the number of auto glass centres and stressing the importance of giving back to the community.
A panel of manufacturers
A panel of car manufacturer representatives then took over to address a number of collision and auto glass repair issues in a transparent manner. Made up of Scott Wideman from Volkswagen, Paul Stella from Toyota and Brian Chiu from Nissan, the panel covered a wide range of interesting topics, including certification, repair processes and the arrival of electric vehicles in aftermarket workshops.
Dave Foster, Vice President of Network Promotion and Development, was joined by Matt Bell, Vice President of New Growth and Franchise Services, to share what’s in the pipeline for our collision shop and auto glass brands. The two men also discussed development forecasts for the rest of 2023.
They also welcomed Robin Junes, owner of multi-workshops, who explained the advantages and complementary nature of running collision shop franchises alongside car glass repair centres.
To conclude the plenary session, Bill Brower, Vice President of Industry Relations at Solera, took the floor to share information on risk management and how data is driving innovation within the industry. He presented his vision of the future of claims, particularly in terms of simplifying processes for consumers.
The day continued with participants being divided into specialist groups according to their franchises. Franchisees of collision and auto glass centres were able to divide themselves up by brand in order to obtain valuable information about them and their facilities.
The topics covered by the specialists included important issues such as ADAS, estimation training, employee motivation, customer success, emerging technologies, marketing, human resources and more.
The Evolution 2023 conference continued on the third day as Melissa Kwiatkowski, Vice President of Marketing, Driven Brands Collision Group, and Felicia Roy, Director of Marketing for Driven Glass Canada, detailed their departments’ efforts to deliver data-driven results and a strategy to drive more customers into their shops.
Important themes such as targeting generation Y representatives and the various tools linked to social media as sales levers were discussed. The two speakers also explained how consumer habits have changed, and the importance of adapting to them while offering a strong brand backed up by professional service delivery.
Following the marketing update, Tony Mammone, Vice President, Strategy and Analysis, CARSTAR Canada, took to the stage to share the latest industry trends and insights. He was joined on stage by Louise Jarry, Senior Director of Strategy and Analysis.
This duo presented a variety of strategies and objectives to boost their activities and detailed the key analyses that can be used to achieve these objectives.
They also discussed the impact of the increase in the number of kilometres travelled, the growing number of electric vehicles on the road and the increase in Uniban’s market share (car windows) in terms of claims.
Another panel, moderated by Julie Benoit, Vice President of Operations and Marketing at Driven Glass Canada, and Dave Foster, Vice President of Promotion and Network Development at CARSTAR Canada, was set up to give a voice to franchisees from the group’s various banners.
By sharing their best practices, they illustrated how a strategy based on irreproachable customer service is an integral part of success.
These entrepreneurs also explained how they are innovating to meet the challenges of the market, such as the shortage of parts and recruitment difficulties.
The day continued with work in specialist groups.
Trade fair for suppliers and Gala evening
Participants from across Canada were then able to discover the latest technologies, solutions and equipment presented by suppliers at a major trade show. From estimating systems and paintwork to equipment and replacement parts, visitors could get answers from the experts.
A Gala evening and the presentation of the Evolution 2023 awards brought the Evolution 2023 Conference to a brilliant close. For the organisers, it was the perfect opportunity to highlight the achievements of all the franchisees and to turn the spotlight on the partners who had particularly distinguished themselves.
For more information on CARSTAR, please visit www.carstar.ca.