Attention to detail opens door to owning business

Nikki
February 6, 2014

Nikki Budde Anderson '01, Sales & Management
D&B Auto Body

This Ford Ranger was restored by D&B Auto Body LLC in September 2012. The beautiful restoration represents a dream my husband, Brandon Anderson ’02, and I had before we even enrolled at St. Cloud Technical & Community College.

We chose our programs of study based on our dream of owning a business. We decided the best plan of action was to pair our strengths to make our dream happen, so I chose Sales & Management, and Brandon enrolled in Auto Body.

As a part of my program, I had to make a sales pitch for a product to an industry professional. I borrowed my husband’s paint gun for my product presentation, researched the manufacturer, studied the inner workings of the product, and ended up presenting to an auto body shop owner from the St. Cloud area. I’m glad I did my due diligence on that one. My favorite class on entrepreneurship (with Becky Shand) also came in handy. The whole class was based on writing a business plan for a business you hoped to open. My plan was based on owning an auto body shop, of course. When the opportunity to open a business presented itself 11 years later, some of the details had changed but I still had my business plan ready.

With the knowledge my husband gained working with Dale DeRung and Roy Thompson in the Auto Body Collision Technology program, he started out as an intern at Miller Auto Body, was hired on, then moved on to a smaller shop where he did a bigger variety of tasks: paint, body work, frame straightening and so on. From there Brandon went on to restore high-end Corvettes. (For all the car buffs out there, these Corvettes were restored to something you might see at Barrett-Jackson auctions.)

About that time, he was looking for something new. I knew of a shop where I had a hunch that the owner would be planning to retire soon and told Brandon he should apply there. I was trying to position ourselves to be first in line when the business went up for sale, and that is exactly what happened.

Armed with my husband’s education and experience and my business plan and marketing skills, we went to the bank and started working on the financing.  A year later when the owner decided to retire, we were right there: financing set and ready to take over as business owners. That was in January 2012.

We have been happily building the business to what we envisioned since then. Each day is a new journey, a new challenge, and a new reward. We couldn’t have done it without the right foundation. It all started with St. Cloud Technical & Community College.

Kate Wallace
Posted in Alumni, auto body