Press-Republican

August 18, 2013

Great Northern PBE Supply enjoys success

DAN HEATH
Press-Republican

PLATTSBURGH — The name has changed, but the service remains the same.

Great Northern PBE Supply owner Tim Wysko said he and four other employees of the former Saratoga Autobody Supply team left after it was sold to Bond Auto Parts.

They formed the new company, located at 22 Trade Road in the Town of Plattsburgh, in June 2012. Wysko said the business is focused on one particular aspect of the automotive industry, refinish products for all aspects of body shop work.

“We focus on body shops and reconstruction shops,” he said. “We don’t sell parts.”

Pieces hard to find

They have knowledge of how to obtain even those hard-to-find pieces of that equipment, Wysko said. He said they carry more than 150 nationally known lines of supplies and equipment.

Great Northern carries BASF and Matrix paints. The latter is featured on Counting Cars on the History Channel and American Restoration on Discovery.

They can even provide color matching and custom tinting. Great Northern can even create a custom tint in an aerosol can for the do-it-yourselfer.

“That’s really popular,” Wysko said.

Wysko said they also offer training classes on the latest materials and techniques used by technicians in that industry. He even has a selection of videos he can show customers on the flatscreen television above the service desk. 

Great Northern recently hosted a plastic-welding and metal-bonding class attended by 35 to 40 people, including several from Vermont. The course was taught by Kurt Zimmerman of Upstate Auto Body Warehouse.

Technicians trained

On Aug. 1, Great Northern staff were in Vermont to train technicians at an auto-body shop how to do silicon bronze welding on hardened structural metals. That’s helpful because of new standards on the type of welding that can be used to repair structural safety systems in a vehicle, Wysko said.

They carry equipment that can convert standard welding equipment to be able to handle the materials needed for the specialized process. That means a customer doesn’t have to go out and buy a new welder.

“The industry is constantly changing, so we try to keep our customers trained on the new procedures. That is directly tied to our success,” he said.

Great Northern serves customers, including delivery, in a territory that runs from Burlington to Ogdensburg to Elizabethtown.

“We carried on what Saratoga Autobody Supply did,” Wysko said.

He said the new business has been a success, as they have retained about 75 percent of the Saratoga Autobody Customers. 

He said the business has lately been growing about 15 to 20 percent a month. Great Northern has about 125 customers, included 45 to 50 in Vermont.

They have also continued an excellent relationship with the sales representatives of all their suppliers.

Orders tracked

Customers can use Great Northern’s Order Linx system to place orders and track their usage, which helps with the various reporting requirements in the industry. It also helps their customers eliminate wasteful practices in their supply chain management, Wysko said.

Their employees enjoy the atmosphere, Wysko said, as fun is a big part of the work day. Even their customers pick up on that, he said.

The Wyskos first opened in a former machine shop in Mooers owned by his father, Chester Wysko. That worked out well, as the shop had been empty since his dad retired.

They quickly outgrew that space, and moved back to Plattsburgh this spring. It provides a more centralized location, as well as easier access to Interstate 87 and the ferry to Vermont.

Wysko got his start at Peck Auto in the mid ‘80s. His wife, Carla, was the manager of that business at the time.

It’s comforting to know they’ve dealt with so many repeat customers since those days, he said. That’s a testament to the high level of customer service they strive to provide.

“We’re thankful for all of our customers and the people that support us. That’s what makes this business so successful,” Wysko said. 

Great Northern PBE Supply is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Cash and checks are accepted, as are Visa, MasterCard, American express and Discover credit cards.

Email Dan Heath:dheath@pressrepublican.com