Borrowing $10,000 from his neighbor Charles Morgan (1/3rd of Morgan’s life savings at the time), Eddie Lennox bought a tin-roofed, unheated “body shop” in West Dallas. To this day, Service King honors the confidence that Charles Morgan showed Eddie by annually awarding the Morgan Award to the top performing repair center in the chain.
While not yet demonstrating the bright trade dress and distinctive architecture that would make the chain famous, this site reflected the Company’s early commitment to quality and professionalism.
Reflecting the Company’s early commitment to partnering with insurance carriers, the Company eagerly embraced the industry’s first designated repair program designed by Allstate. This innovation eventually spread to the other carriers and has, over time, reshaped the collision repair industry to the benefit of carriers, repairers and policyholders alike.
Eddie Lennox recognized a leader when he first met Jeff McFadden and convinced him to join his team. Over the years Jeff has held positions of substantial responsibility across the Company including Vice President of Operations, Sales & Marketing and Business Development. It is expected that Jeff will become the Company’s President following the planned transaction.
With the expansion during the 1990’s, the Company set upon the trajectory that would lead to its dominance of the Dallas marketplace. With highly visible locations strategically positioned on major roads and in growing suburbs, the Company was becoming the best known collision repairer in Dallas.
At the suggestion of his lifelong friend, Jeff McFadden, Chris Abraham joined Service King and soon became indispensible in several critical operating and business development roles. Over ten years later, Chris would prove himself by building Service King in Houston. It is expected that Chris will become the Company’s CEO following the planned transaction.
Danny McKinley was born into the collision industry, having learned the trade in his family’s repair business. Danny has been instrumental in developing Service King’s operational standards and has worked in leadership roles since joining the Company.
“The best business decision I ever made” is how Eddie Lennox describes his decision to empower his leadership team through equity ownership. Today there are 92 employees collectively owning approximately 20% of the Company including every location manager.
Today, the Company’s 23 locations in the DFW market are seven locations more than the Company’s closest competitor. The Company’s 85% aided brand awareness is almost twice that of the next brand.
Developed in-house on a rich and scalable technology platform, AccuCenter is believed by many to be the most advanced ERP system in the industry. AccuCenter integrates the leading third-party estimation and analytics tools into a common interface, streamlining the work flow throughout the Company.
Expanding its sights for the first time beyond Dallas, the Company opened a single location in the first half of 2008. Soon it would be sending a full team, led by Chris Abraham, into the market with the intent to dominate that market as well.
Through additional expansion, its twelve centers are now the most of any operator in the Houston market. Service King’s success in Houston is the catalyst for state-wide expansion: “Service King II” has begun.
Eddie Lennox turns to a trusted and highly experienced family member to drive the Company’s expansion both within Texas and beyond. Cathy is a successful executive and entrepreneur with deep experience in sales, marketing and advertising. She also had served as Executive Director of Commerce for Texas under the later Governor, Ann Richards.
With its eight prominent locations, Alamo afforded Service King an outstanding means to penetrate the San Antonio market. By successfully integrating Alamo with the Company’s systems and procedures, the Company has been able to improve gross margin by over 8% and quadrupling the EBITDA margin.
With five locations modeled after Service King’s locations (its founder had once worked for Service King), B&B was the perfect entry point into the attractive Austin market. Separated from San Antonio by only 80 miles, the markets are able to share some services and the Company is already developing a sixth location in Austin.
While “Service King II” is not yet over as there are more repair centers to open and more markets to penetrate in Texas, the Company has realized its objective of becoming the leading collision repair chain in the entire state faster and more successfully than its leaders had even hoped.
With its May 2012 agreement to purchase Phoenix-headquartered Auto Body World, Service King wasted no time in proving that the borders of Texas were no barrier to its penetration of new markets and abilities to leverage its great brand and leading systems.