With more and more people working from home these days, many are driving less and less. Although there are fewer cars on the road as a result, the inevitable reality of automobile ownership still exists—and at some point, a fender-bender, rogue tree branch, or just the accumulation of dirt and grime will require most to eventually seek the services of an auto-body shop and/or professional car detailer. For three decades, City Collision has been providing residents in and around the Strip District and Pittsburgh at large with the highest quality auto-body repair options along with an earned reputation for outstanding customer satisfaction. The company’s newest outlet, The Auto Spa by City Collision, will be offering car-detailing services with the same level of excellence and care.

    City Collision president Steve Schaffer says he created City Collision I and II as well as The Auto Spa as an opportunity to serve the community in an industry with which he has years of experience and expertise. In 1990, Schaffer chose to move his original business from Pittsburgh’s South Hills to the Strip. At that time, he purchased two locations: 3210 and 3400 Smallman Street. “At the 3210 Smallman Street location, I operated a collision repair shop and consciously shifted my business focus from the towing industry to the repair industry—paring back to only four tow trucks,” Schaffer explains.

    He operated out of that building for roughly five years until he obtained the current 3015 Liberty Avenue location, from which he was able to expand business operations for the next 20 years. Schaffer ran City Collision out of this location exclusively, and in 2006, he acquired 2950 Penn Avenue as a bare lot. “With this new property, I was able to have a structure purpose-built to fit the space and storage requirements necessary for the industry. Now I’ve also added 3400 Smallman Street to the City Collision business organization as The Auto Spa by City Collision,” he adds.

    City Collision and Auto Spa owner, Steve Schaffer.

    City Collision and Auto Spa owner, Steve Schaffer.

    City Collision I and II provide largely overlapping services related to the collision industry. Both locations excel in collision repair, ranging from minor fender-benders to larger, more involved collisions. Additionally, both buildings employ glass-repair technicians experienced in panel replacement and minor chip repair. They also offer light detail work after collision repair to varying degrees, and both buildings work on all makes and models of vehicles as well as working with all insurance companies. Schaffer states that the main differences between City Collision I and City Collision II are in the mechanical department. “City Collision I has a floor-level alignment rack capable of aligning pretty much any conventionally sized vehicle and even some larger, commercially sized vehicles. This piece of equipment is staffed by our full-time mechanic.” Also, City Collision I contains a mechanical department specializing in vehicular diagnostics, suspension and exhaust repair, and suspension alignments.

    The Auto Spa has a different scope of car care and will offer full-blown automotive detailing ranging from basic cleaning services to a full decontamination wash and hot-water carpet extraction. “We also employ detailed technicians specifically trained in vehicular ceramic coating with three quality tiers ranging up to a ten-year warranty,” Schaffer notes. He says his current goal with The Auto Spa is opening and maintaining a successful detail business that will be able to operate independently of and in conjunction with City Collision.

    His personal business philosophy has always been geared toward the customer’s experience. In fact, Schaffer’s company constantly strives to maintain as pleasant an experience as possible, and to achieve the highest possible quality for each individual repair. “To maintain these standards, I have a management team that is hands-on with the on-boarding of all personnel and personally inspects every vehicle that leaves the premises. All of this, I believe, is only possible due to the importance of an independent, small-business mentality,” he adds.

    Schaffer says that when he chose to move his business from the South Hills to the Strip, he did so specifically due to the diversity the neighborhood offers. “This little section of town is the most inclusive part of the city and there actually is something for everybody here. You cannot walk down Penn Avenue without being reminded of how multicultural our city is, not to mention the fact that the Strip District contains everything and anything one could need—from grocers to restaurants, from coffee shops to housing—you really do not need to leave the Strip unless you want to!”

    Schaffer is also currently excited to see the continued expansion of the Strip District and describes how awe-inspiring it is to walk through the area and watch the progress of all the new construction. “It is great to see a long-standing deli thriving just blocks from new condominiums being constructed—I cannot wait to see what kind of center the old produce building becomes once all shops are able to open within.” Schaffer concludes, “It really is an amazing time to be a member of this community—and all the new buildings popping up make it very clear: I’m not the only one that wants to be here!”

    For more information on the opening of The Auto Spa, call 412-621-2370. To schedule a City Collision appointment for your car, call 412-471-9995 or 412-281-6250.

    Christopher Cussat is a Pittsburgh-based freelance writer who is very good at driving … everyone crazy. Read more of his writing at cussat.com.
    Photography by Mary Pegher

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