New Look Collision expands with new facility in Scottsdale
By Eric Newman / Photos by Kimberly Carrillo
When Michael Whittemore began fixing an old Camaro and Pontiac Firebird at age 17, he knew he had a passion for cars. He parlayed that passion into an 18-year career as an auto technician, but never imagined he’d be the owner of his own automobile service center with multiple locations.
His first New Look Collision shop opened in Henderson, Nevada in 2004, and over the years he expanded to four collision centers throughout the state. The Whittemore family would often venture to its cabin in Flagstaff, and over time, Michael fell in love with Arizona. Sensing a bit of an untapped local market for repairs, and seeing plenty of luxury cars lining the street, Whittemore opened his fifth shop in Scottsdale early this year.
The new location, at 15450 N. 84th Street, has around 17,000 square feet of space for nearly anything necessary for repairs and maintenance of cars. The shop has manufacturer-brand equipment throughout the repair space, and certifications and rave reviews line the walls of the inner office.
“A lot of the people we worked with in Nevada actually live in the Phoenix area, so that’s great for face-to-face communication and contact with them. Also, Scottsdale was perfect for us to come to because there are so many people driving those high-end vehicles here, especially Tesla,” Whittemore says.
The Scottsdale location has become certified through Tesla corporate, much like the shops in Nevada have been certified through the manufacturers of several luxury and regular-use cars. But it’s not just the quality of the car repairs or the friendly staff that make the shop a desirable spot for business – the team also consistently looks for new ways to innovate.
Car shops have existed for decades, but one aspect of New Look Collision that sets it apart is its true embrace of technology in the 21st century.
In 2007, just around the time he saw smart phones in the hands of so many people, Whittemore and his team developed a way to integrate the camera and messaging systems into their vehicle repair service.
“Everybody uses their phone for everything, so you can actually go to our website and then you can pick the location that your vehicle’s at. Then, you can plug in your cell phone number and it’ll go right into our database and it’ll show you where your car is in the repair process. And for everybody today, everybody wants instant access and that’s perfect,” he says.
The website also allows customers to get a free estimate quickly from the scene of a crash. Whittemore says the company gets about 200 of those estimate requests every month.
“You take three pictures with your phone. You fill out a quick information form, send it to our estimator on the website and it’ll kick an estimate back to you based off the photos,” he explains. “We’ll send a price estimate back and you’ll know right away whether it’s worth making a claim or paying the deductible.”
The New Look Collision website also offers a free blog for customers and those interested in the shop. The blog provides clear, easy-to-understand answers to questions such as, “How much do car insurance rates go up after an accident?” and “Does a car accident void the warranty?”
All of the shop’s administrators have years of experience working with cars and also possess an understanding of some of the industry’s financial inner workings. They hope that the blog, in addition to quality work on vehicles, draws customers in.
“People want information, not just on what we do here specifically in the shop, but just on some plain information about their cars and insurance stuff. We want to be able to help them where we can,” Whittemore says.
Whittemore says he no longer repairs cars himself for business or leisure and is more focused on running the shop with his wife, Theressa, who handles finances and most of the paperwork.
Russ McCannon, New Look Collision’s body shop manager, says the pair gives off a family atmosphere that is rare to find in corporate America. McCannon says communication lines are always open, and the level of respect everybody shares for each other makes New Look Collision a great place to work. That, in turn, makes the customer service even better.
“In some corporate places, you’re not noticed unless something goes catastrophically wrong or something exceptional happens, but even then, you can be overlooked. Working with almost a ‘mom and pop’ store, you can tell that everybody really has an interest and their hands in whatever’s going on here,” McCannon says.
New Look Collision works with the National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Ride programs to restore and donate cars to those in need, in an attempt to pay forward some of the business and care its employees have received.
“This year we gave it to a single father whose son had autism and they didn’t have a car, so he had to take the city bus all the way across town to go to his appointments, and now he’s got a car. So, that was really cool to see. We care about our customers and want to give back to the community when we can,” Whittemore says.
Whittemore hopes his shop generates enough business to expand in the Valley. He says he has his eyes on locations in Mesa and Tempe, as well as other spots in Arizona.
For more information on New Look Collision, call 702-564-2220 or visit newlookcollision.com.