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Michigan Body Shop Marks 75th Anniversary Under Same Family Ownership

Michigan Body Shop Marks 75th Anniversary Under Same Family Ownership

Riverbend Body Shop

GRANDRAPIDS, MI ­-- Second and even third-generation family-owned collision repair businesses are not uncommon in the industry, but far fewer reach into a fourth generation – something Riverbend Body Shop in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has done.

“We’re in our 75th year of operation,” Matt DeGroot, the production manager for the company said. “I’m fourth generation. It started with my great-grandpa in 1946. Currently, my Dad and uncle are the owners. We’ve always been in West Michigan, on the Northwest side of Grand Rapids.”

The company runs two shops, including an 18,000 square-foot body shop that employs about 20 people. The shop, which sprays PPG paint in its two paint booths, produces about 200 repair orders a month. 

“We’re a Progressive direct repair shop, and then we’re DRP with about seven or eight other major insurance companies,” DeGroot said.

Riverbend Body Shop has earned the I-CAR Gold Class designation, as well as certifications from a long list of automakers including General Motors, Honda, Subaru, Hyundai, Fiat Chrysler and Nissan.

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Photo: Riverbend Body Shop in Grand Rapids

The company’s other location offers full-service mechanical repair and glass work and houses the company’s towing operation. DeGroot said it was the mechanical work that gave the business some experience with vehicle scanning and calibrations even before that became a daily part of collision repair work. The shop uses Opus IVS remote scanning tools, in part because of its familiarity with that company on the mechanical side of the business. 

“Previously in our collision shop we used some aftermarket scanners, but it would take a lot of time to get the scan data from those tools saved into the file for the insurance company,” DeGroot said. “We’d run into situations where sometimes we couldn’t provide the scan data to the insurer and have to take it off the estimate even though we were always doing it. But since we use the CCC ONE system, the Opus IVS system integrates with it to automatically upload the scan information.”

While the Opus IVS DriveSafe and ScanSafe tools easily combine with the shop’s CCC system, DeGroot said the DriveSafe tool also has a camera and a fully-loaded version of CCC’s tools built in, allowing the shop to prepare estimates directly from the platform.

Because Riverbend works on a wide variety of vehicles, DeGroot likes that the Opus system offers a choice of an IVSTrue-OE authentic OEM scan and report run by Opus IVS expert technicians using OEM-licensed software, or a more economical aftermarket “QuickScan,” which offers fast aftermarket scan results in 2 to 4 minutes. The IVSWizard 2.0 introduced in late 2021 helps guide shops through such scanning decisions based on factors such as the vehicle’s technology and damage, and the shop’s OEM certifications.

“We can use the same tool for both, which saves us time,” DeGroot said. “IVS 360 Support from Opus also lets us connect with a technician right away who has OEM experience with whatever kind of car we are working on. They can help you trouble-shoot stuff that isn’t working. It’s amazing how someone familiar with the OEM brand can quickly narrow the problem down based on repair data and experience that they have.”

DeGroot said his company still sublets out most of the static ADAS calibrations but is considering getting some of the targets needed to do more of that in-house, working with Opus IVS. But he points to a number of examples of repaired vehicles that didn’t have to be taken to a dealership because the shop could use the Opus system for reprogramming.

“Some of these cars won’t start and aren’t movable after certain modules are replaced,” DeGroot said. “So it saves us towing the car and all that. We just had a Honda with a window that wasn’t working in a door replaced. We hooked up the tool and Opus went right into the door module and went through the programming procedure to get the reset done. That car wouldn’t have been delivered that day if we had to send it out.”

The new DriveSafe with IVSTrio includes IVSTrue-OE, IVSQuickScan and IVSRepair to complete a “trio” of features.  IVSRepair is full aftermarket multi-brand diagnostic software that includes lives data, bi-directional controls and ADAS calibration functions.  Additionally, the new DriveSafe includes IVSMap ADAS Blueprint.  It provides a list of ADAS systems on the vehicle, calibrations and targets required, estimated time to calibrate systems, service information links, ALLDATA trouble code service information lookup by DTC, Opus IVS repair suggestions by vehicle and technical notes.

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Photo: Opus IVS DriveSafe

DeGroot said one key to the company’s long history is its belief in always trying to do something a little extra for its customers, and by being active in its community. The company’s level of customer service is reflected in its 4.9-star standing based on more than 500 Google reviews.

“I’ve used Riverbend for over 35 years, and always receive quality service and good follow-up,” one customer wrote this past summer. “Services are completed on time, and they stand behind their workmanship.”

About Opus IVS

Opus IVS is the Intelligent Vehicle Support division of Opus Group, formed through the merging of industry-leading companies DrewTech, Autologic, Farsight, BlueLink and AutoEnginuity to develop innovative automotive solutions for more than 50,000 repair shops and dealerships worldwide, giving them the confidence to get the most complex vehicles back on the road safely and fast. Opus IVS develops industry-leading OEM endorsed diagnostic technology with over 60 patents pending related to remote flash programming, pre- and post-repair scanning, remote technical support, ADAS calibrations and vehicle network technology. The Opus IVS remote technical support connects the shop with 100+ brand-specific Master Technicians to help interpret trouble codes, review OEM service procedures and provide diagnostic assistance directly through the tool. Opus IVS is a division of Opus Group, which has over 2,600 employees, 34 offices globally and connects to 30M vehicles per year for OBD testing.

Learn more about DriveSafe™ and ScanSafe™ at: https://www.opusivs.com/products/collision-solutions