Carrie Rengers

Auto Paint Repair owner expands business through acquisition

Auto Craft Collision Repair owner J.R. Sartain was looking to buy property when he decided to purchase this west-side business instead.
Auto Craft Collision Repair owner J.R. Sartain was looking to buy property when he decided to purchase this west-side business instead. Courtesy photo

Auto Craft Collision Repair owner J.R. Sartain had been looking without much luck for a west-side site to open a second one of his Auto Paint Repair stores when he learned that Autotech Collision and Mechanical was for sale.

He’s now purchased the 14,000-square-foot business at 4411 W. Central, which is a few blocks west of West Street. His original APR site is at 1100 S. Washington.

“There wasn’t a large presence of a collision center out west for the style of work we do,” Sartain says.

APR does a lot of wholesale work, such as claims-free work, dealership work and reconditioning work for fleets. The business offers window tinting and car audio work as well.

With the Autotech acquisition, APR is adding a mechanical component to the business. The new site will do everything from alignments to complete engine overhauls.

“It makes it one-stop shopping,” says Jaden Randle, who is director of marketing and sales for both companies.

He says the business already has a lot of west-side customers. With the new location and the addition of mechanical work, Randle says, “It opened up a whole other market.”

Sartain is renaming the business Autotech Service and Audio and is in the process of changing signs now.

Former Autotech owner Fred Jelich and the late Kurt Fowler opened the business in October 2002.

Fowler died in June. That was part of the reason Jelich says he was ready to sell.

“I’d say it maybe moved the time frame up a little further,” he says. “That and the fact I’m getting old.”

Jelich says Sartain wants him to remain for three years to “make sure I take care of my customers.”

He says that was fine with him because customer service is important to him as well.

“They’re all about good service … so it was a really good fit,” Jelich says. “That’s the impression I’ve gotten from them, that that’s what it’s all about.”

Sartain has hired a service manager for Autotech and an outside salesman who is familiar with mechanical fleet work.

APR opened almost a decade ago as a mobile paint shop with one employee.

Now, with APR and Autotech, there are 23 employees. There are 120 with Auto Craft.

Sartain worked for Auto Craft for almost 20 years and then bought the businesses three years ago when owner Phil Turner died.

“Phil Turner was a father figure to me.”

Sartain says he has “quite a bit” of expansion interest

He has four full-size Auto Craft body shops, a drop-off center in Andover and sites in Tulsa and Junction City.

“We would like to use Auto Paint Repair to test some other markets as well,” Sartain says.

He says that will be around the greater Wichita area and beyond.

Sartain says he hopes to add three businesses in the next five years. Look for more information on the businesses as it happens.

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers