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Central Oregon body shops see surge in business

Winter driving challenges bring rise in crashes

C.O. body shops seeing surge in business

BEND, Ore. - It's no secret that this winter already has been rough on Central Oregon drivers, and crashes are up. One business -- auto body repair shops -- has seen an uptick in business as a result.

For example, Robberson Ford Collision Center in Bend has a two-month backlog of work. The unusual amount of snow and cold this winter has brought is mainly to blame.

​"That much snow that quick, I don't think any of us were ready for it," body shop manager Ben Nolan said Wednesday. "It's definitely increased our workload (and) the amount of estimates we've been doing. An example -- in November, we do about 200 estimates a month. Thus far in January we've done close to 300 estimates."

They're so busy, they ran out of room to put work orders for vehicles awaiting repairs and the overflow of files are placed on the floor.

On the other hand, auto repair shops that work on engines, transmissions and other internal problems said they're actually seeing business slow down, as fewer people are digging out their cars and hitting the road in this weather.

An auto body worker at Robberson Collision Center said he's been working a lot of overtime lately.

"Basically, (you) just kind of work harder," Dan Rossiter said. "You've got to scoop the snow off everything before you bring it in, slipping and sliding around the back lot. You work a little harder, I think."

But he said he does like the extra money from that overtime.

Another busy business: Les Schwab Tires, where an official said they're actually hiring right now.


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