For the fifth year in a row, Lebanon Daily News readers picked Yancey's Auto Body as the first-place winner in the best paint/autobody shop category of the annual Best of the Lebanon Valley contest.
Yancey's Auto Body, located at 435 Ebenezer Road (Route 72) in North Lebanon Township, may face competition from large-scale, dealer-affiliated operations and from independent shops alike. Yet, the company wins, year in and year out.
"It makes me feel good to win because it means that everybody's happy with their work," owner Robert Yancey Sr. said.
Yancey, who opened Yancey's Auto Body in 1954, believes that it's the people, the technicians who work on the cars make the difference. Unlike in other, newer shops, he said, at Yancey's Auto Body one technician works on a car from start until finish.
"We try to give the people a good job. The guys are proud of what they do," Yancey said. "When (a technician) is done with the job, he can stand back and be proud."
This is a contrast to some other auto body shops that function more like an assembly line, Yancey said.
"Not many guys have the skills that my guys do," Yancey said. "They finish it down to the last detail."
Shop manager Garry Weiland also credits the shop's success on the technicians. The least experienced employee at Yancey's Auto Body has about 20 years of experience, he estimates.
Yancey's Auto Body repairs approximately 100 cars a month, administrative secretary Deb Yeagley said. The work ranges anywhere from the minor to the severe.
Yancey has always enjoyed cars. Before he opened the autobody shop, he worked in another body shop, and after work ended for the day, he would paint his friends cars for free from home using a Sears, Roebuck and Co. paint compressor, he said. His work kept him up late into the night, even when he had a full day of work ahead of him, but he didn't mind.
After opening his own shop, Yancey said he worked long hours doing the repairs himself and managing many of the office duties. Although he no longer repairs customers' cars, he couldn't surrender the work he loves entirely, so he occupies himself by fixing cars as a hobby and then selling them.
Yancey's Auto Body is a family business, with Robert Sr. involving his sons Robert Jr. as an appraiser and Roger as the parts department manager. Weiland is also Robert Yancey Sr.'s son-in-law.
In recent years Yancey's Auto Body has made attempts to go green by recycling cardboard and giving their scrap metal to local Boy Scouts, who recycle it as a fundraiser.
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