.by Anura Guruge
Cantin Collision Center, the auto body arm of Laconia staple Cantin Chevrolet, on Union Av., is very good, very, very good.
The quality of their auto body work is immaculate and impeccable, their prices beyond competitive and their service, led by the ever impish, very Irish, Brendan Quigley, is delightfully pleasant, even entertaining.
I have heard that they have been rated THE #1 auto body shop in New Hampshire at least once in the last few years and I can tell you, without equivocation, that I can fully appreciate how they deserve such recognition.
In my book, they are THE #1 auto body shop in New Hampshire. Period.
Yes, we just had our 2012 KIA Sportage repaired by them — and as you might have worked out I am kind of impressed and pleased with their work (and even more so with their price).
As some of you know we got hit, in Portsmouth, by the big rotary, on Mother’s Day, on the way to Strawbery Banke. We get our insurance from the local Cross agency in Alton — and they are great. They take good care of us. Robin Lund, their consumer insurance impresario, is amazing. She is magical. You should try her. Probably the best insurance agent in the U.S. — and it isn’t as if I haven’t dealt with many. Our latest insurance, auto and property, through Cross is with Mt. Washington Assurance Corp. This accident was my first real dealing with them and was I impressed. The accident happened Sunday, by 11 am Tuesday I had a fairly decent check in my hand! That is quick.
Deanna asked around as to where we should take the KIA to get fixed. I asked Robin and the Mt. Washington estimator. They all started off with Weston Autobody in Wolfeboro, NH. I just laughed. We got some other places. We even called up a friend who owns his own high end autobody shop in Exeter. But, then I told Deanna I am taking it to Cantin. And I did.
This was the first time I have had any collision work done by Cantin — though Cantin and I go back to c. 1998 given that I used to own Cadillacs and a bright yellow, convertible 1995 Corvette.
That said, I had dealt with the Collision Center and Brendan Quigley once before. That is why I was going back. Brendan totalled a car for us in 2006. He did it with so much panache that I made a mental note: “I like this guy. I am going back the next time I need any body work”. We got hit, in Laconia, by an uninsured driver, in 2006. I had the car towed to Cantin. Brendan totalled it. We ended up buying a van and a car, from Cantin, of course, to replace that one totalled car.
I took the KIA to Brendan a few weeks ago for an estimate. He didn’t ask me whether I had been given an estimate by my insurance company let alone what they had ‘give me’ for the repairs. As an ex-salesman myself I kept my mouth shut and waited for Brendan to give me his take.
He was $18 less than the estimate from Mt. Washington. This was a $2,500 repair. And remember he had no idea what I had got from Mt. Washington. $18 on a $2,500 job is less than 1%. That is pretty good. That is pretty damn good. Well, as Brendan now knows, though that $18 was good, I, being Asian and all that, had to haggle. He ‘sharpened his pencil a bit more’ — as we say in sales. He gave me a VERY GOOD PRICE. Made my smile. I did NOT bother to get any other estimates. I did not need to. I was NOT taking the KIA anywhere else. As long as Cantin gave me a decent price, they were getting my work. They did. We are all happy.
Deanna was amazed that I wasn’t getting another estimate. Atypical for me. But, I have my standards. Cantin has a very nice, very modern facility with a paint ‘booth’ which reminds me of the one they have at ‘Gas Monkey Garage‘ on Discovery Channel’s “Fast N’ Loud” with Richard Rawlings. I wasn’t taking my ‘new’ KIA to some ‘dump’ built in the 1940s.
Of course, I am glad I did.
It all worked out well and to the bargain we all had a good laugh or two — Brendan, like nearly all Irish, has a wonderful sense of humor.
So as they say in Tintin “all’s is well that ends well”.
If you are in New Hampshire and need auto body work,
and are within 75 miles of Laconia,
do NOT bother with anybody else,
just go straight to Cantin and ask for Brendan.
[You can tell him, by all means, ‘that the brown guy‘ sent you. You will see a smile flicker on his lips and he will reach out to sharpen the pencil.]
Thank YOU, Brendan.
Thank YOU, Cantin.
Thank YOU, Tom Cantin (though I bet you don’t remember me being your salesman when I worked across the road and you used to buy, quite literally, tons and tons of paper from us).