Focus On Business : Competition takes a back seat to Bud’s

buds-auto.jpgBy Ofelia Saenz, Staff Writer

When Tom Benson took ownership of Bud’s Auto Upholstery about five years ago, (which he later merged with Beach Cities Sunroofs) he was new to the upholstery business, but not new to Bud’s; Benson had been a loyal customer of the shop for more than 17 years.
Founded in 1947 by Bud Dansby, the business has had a long-standing reputation for doing quality work. Today, in addition to repairing, restoring and servicing the interiors of cars, planes and boats, the shop also repairs, services and installs sunroofs and convertible tops.
Although the price of repairing a sunroof or convertible top can be expensive, Benson points out how easily maintenance and service can prevent breakdown. “The overwhelming majority of repairs we do on sunroofs and convertible tops could have been avoided if [the owner] would have had [the equipment] aligned and lubricated every 12 to 24 months,” he said. “Most people have never been told that.”
To help ensure timely and efficient work, Bud’s has the advantage of a large experienced staff with plenty of room to do the majority of jobs onsite in its 6,000 -square foot workspace.
Benson gives the bulk of the credit for Bud’s longevity and good name to Andi Gilio who bought the business from the original owner in 1970, then stayed on as operations manager (or, as Benson likes to refer to her, goddess of operations) after she sold the business to Benson.
“She has more integrity in her thumbnail than most people have in their whole body and everybody loves her,” Benson said. With Gilio’s help, Benson has worked hard at maintaining the dedication to quality work that kept him coming back as a customer for so many years.
Bud’s uses the highest quality foam for rebuilding seats as well as UV protected thread and stainless steel on any outdoor pieces that are expected to be exposed to the elements. While the benefits of these seemingly minor details may not always be obvious to a customer, the durability of the workmanship has paid off for the business decade after decade.
In an industry where repeat business is hard to gauge, Benson points out about 40 percent of their business comes from satisfied customers returning for more work.
“We are neither the most expensive nor the cheapest at what we do. We never will be. That’s not our market,” Benson said. “However, the quality of our work—that’s why people come back.”
Bud’s Auto Upholstery and Beach Cities Sunroofs is located at 2637 St. Louis Avenue in Signal Hill. Call (562) 595-6370 or visit HYPERLINK “”

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