Schiro’s Auto Body Repair History
In 1935 Vincent Schiro worked for $5 a week for a fleet company in New York, NY. He was an apprentice in mechanics. After several years, he graduated to a taxi-cab company where he was the head mechanic. In 1943 he was drafted into WWII where he was a combat engineer for the U.S. army. The Army trained him to work on trucks of all sizes. He was part of the third wave of D-Day on Omaha Beach and subsequently served in the Battle of the Bulge. After the war, on his return to New York he started refurbishing cars. Vincent purchased damaged cars and then refurbished the body, paint, and mechanical parts so he could sell them for profit. In 1958 he married his childhood friend Lillain Palermo, Italy.
In that same year, Vincent moved to California to start a car refurbishing business. He opened Schiro’s Motor Sales in Burbank with his brother and brother-in-law. Approximately four years later they bought the property on Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood and moved the business there; it was a big lot with an old building in the middle where they did the repair work. The brothers completed construction of the current L-shaped building in 1970. They operated the car refurbishing/selling business with two of the eight bays and leased out the other six bays to other automotive repair businesses. They had one employee and began specializing in antique auto restorations.
At the ages of about seven and eight, to avoid babysitters during the summers, Frank and Joe came to the shop with dad while their mom worked as a seamstress. Playing games like hide-and-go-seek inside the cars became boring and quickly turned into ‘what does this tool do? And soon afterward they were doing body work, painting cars, performing engine and mechanical work, and re-doing the upholstery on the classics.
At the age of thirteen, Frank bought his own Model A and restored it to mint condition. At sixteen, he turned his sights to a 57 T-Bird while Joe concentrated on 4×4 trucks and a vintage corvette. The boys literally learned the business from the ground up with their father and uncle teaching them every aspect of the car restoration business. Most importantly, they learned a strong work ethic.
Frank and Joe continued at the shop through high school, with Joe doing a short stint for his cousin in the air-compressor business. In the early 1980′s, the brothers took over most of the office administration duties and transitioned away from antique car restorations to a more dependable and somewhat more profitable collision repair business. By delivering quality repairs, great customer service, and investing in training and equipment, they
eventually acquired positions on several preferred programs with major insurance companies. As the business grew, they took over all eight bays at the North Hollywood location and needed to expanded further. In 1997, they built a two-story building addition on the North Hollywood property to expand the paint department.
As their reputation grew in the community, in 2002 they purchased a decaying 27,000 sq. ft. building on 1 1/2 acres of land in Chatsworth. In April of 2003 the newly refurbished auto body shop opened for business. At first, the Chatsworth facility only repaired cars but in January of 2010, Schiro’s added a commercial trucks and RV collision repair division to the mix.They are now able to handle the full range of auto body repairs on most types of vehicles for both ends of the San Fernando Valley.
An integral part of the growth and stability of Schiro’s is their continued pursuit of education, and investment in advanced repair equipment and technologies. Over the years the staff has received on-going training through I-CAR, ASE, paint manufacturers, manufacturers, and supply vendors. Frank is a graduate of California State University, Northridge and was an I-CAR instructor I-CAR District Chairman for several years. Joe has been a Reserve Sheriff on the Santa Clarita department for over 25 years.
Over the years, the company has been involved in several industry groups including the California Autobody Association, CIC, SCRS, and Coyote Vision Group. Coyote Vision is a group of body shops across the nation that meets four times per year at a various locations across the U.S. The group discusses national trends, advanced collision repair business development topics, and advanced technologies to stay on the leading edge of the body repair business. Their involvement with Coyote Vision has resulted in streamlining the repair processing order to provide higher quality, better cycle times and better service to the customer. The members hear from national speakers who teach management styles, the value of good employee relations, and how to deliver exceptional customer service.
In 2012 at the age of 94, Vincent Schiro passed away but his legacy of a strong work ethic remains. The core values passed from Vincent to Frank and Joe is evident in the success of the business. “Our father taught us the value of integrity and the importance of standing by your word and doing the right thing. We learned to truly care about giving the customer what they deserve—an honest, quality repair and treat others fairly. He influenced us to value customers and employees like an extended part of our family; we learned the importance of creating an atmosphere of wanting to come to work and being grateful for what we have.”
With their goal of being an industry leading, best-in-class organization, Joe and Frank will continue building their father’s legacy.