For Rusty Campbell, business couldn’t be better.
The owner of Rick’s Paint & Body Shop, with locations at 251 Bobby Jones Expressway, 3102 Mike Padgett Highway and 4750 Washington Road, is having a banner year.
“In the last year and a half, we’re just short of doubling our gross sales,” Campbell said. “It’s a combination of a lot of things. The stars are just lined up. A lot of it you can’t pinpoint. It’s the result of years of hard, determined working and realizing what our customers need: a car fixed properly, they want it back quickly and they want to be treated professionally and with courtesy.”
Campbell purchased Rick’s Paint & Body in September 1990 from Rick Huff. He was working for Huff before Huff decided to retire and sell the business to him. He started out running the shop on Gordon Highway and worked his way up to run the business on Bobby Jones Expressway.
The Martinez shop handles heavy collision repairs. To meet business growth, Campbell has built a larger, high tech body shop and plans to expand the administrative and estimating areas.
Based on customer demand, Campbell opened a pilot program for a concierge shop in the last few weeks on Washington Road in Evans. The location performs detailing, small repairs and estimates.
“As it grows, we’ll build a facility to suit the demands of the customers. We weren’t ready to build a world-class facility in today’s market. We didn’t want to stretch ourselves too thin. I like to take small steps. That way I can make sure they will be solid steps,” Campbell said.
Campbell and his estimators work about 12 hours a day with no lunch break. Racing against the clock is the nature of the business. Customers and insurance companies want vehicles returned as soon as possible.
“It takes a sense of urgency to compete in the collision industry today. No two wrecks are identical, and there is quite a lot that goes into fixing a car. You’re repairing the second biggest investment that some people will ever make. For some people, the biggest,” Campbell said.
Before taking the job at Rick’s, Campbell was a part owner of a high performance recreational/race boat company in Tennessee. For about 20 years, Campbell raced boats throughout the country and even internationally in Canada, France, the Dominican Republic and South Africa.
However, Campbell eventually tired of the trek back and forth to Tennessee and his family didn’t want to move, so he started looking for a job closer to Augusta. He landed a job at Rick’s.
“You don’t mind working for a goal if you’re getting a positive result. We’ve been blessed with a very positive result. It’s amazing how much has changed here in the last two years,” he said.