Arkansas-based Discount Auto Glass will double its square footage upon opening its newest satellite location in Conway in the coming months, a move that owner Kevin Copeland says will allow the company to capitalize on the emerging niche of offering in-house windshield calibration.
Discount’s current and soon-to-be old facility in Conway is one of its oldest satellite locations. Copeland says the location was great in terms of traffic flow but did not have space for large waiting rooms or even a large shop. Discount purchased the property a few years ago, but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, presenting the project with obstacles in terms of material prices and labor.
“I ran into all kinds of problems,” Copeland says. “My initial bid for the new location was based on pre -COVID pricing for metal and labor. Well, we finally got it going, I have the permits, and now it’s almost complete.”
The 4,000-square-foot facility, located approximately 10 minutes from the current Conway satellite location, will include 1,000-square feet of office space and 3,000-square feet for the shop. Copeland says the new shop will have three “huge” bays as opposed to the two small bays at the current facility. One of those bays is larger than the other two and earmarked for diesel vehicles.
Also included in the new facility is a system that will see Discount capitalize on the emerging niche market of windshield calibration.
“So we’ll be doing those in-house, which is going to help us grow our business as we won’t be handcuffed to only doing calibration installs on two days a week,” Copeland says. “We’ll basically be able to do them five days a week.”
Between bringing on additional staff and a faster work pace made possible by more room in the facility, Copeland projects a 30-40% revenue increase in the first year alone. He expects calibration work, specifically, to double at the new Conway location.
“It’s almost like our business in Conway has shifted from commercial to more retail,” Copeland says. “We used to do body shop work in Conway and still do, but we said we weren’t going to pursue it as hard as we have been. We can do calibration work and make more money off of that than spending all day in the body shop.”
And so, the Conway location has seen a shift in its niche.
“That’s why we needed a better location,” Copeland says, noting that more work is taking place in-shop than ever before, especially when taking COVID-19 into account. “Within the next month, we’ll have the new location open.” Currently, it is approximately 90% complete.
All operations will transition to the new facility in time, but both may be utilized until the old lease expires. While there are no additional immediate expansion plans, Copeland says “big things” are on the horizon for Discount Auto Glass. Should more satellite locations open in the future, the new Conway facility will be used as the model facility.
Discount Auto Glass was named one of AGRR’s Top Auto Glass Retailers in the 10-$25 million category.