Collision Plus 2 Is a Family Affair | April 2017
By Maria Landry
While Mike Bard got into the collision repair business as a child and his wife, Michelle, entered the business about 15 years ago as an adult, they both came via the same means: family.
“I was brought up in it,” Mike said recently from one of the two businesses he and Michelle own, Collision Plus 2, located at 3 Merithew Drive on Route 201. “My father started [Maurice & Son Auto Body] in Fairfield in 1967, and I took it over when he retired. I was a car person, I guess, right from the beginning. I started there when I was 12 years old in the summers, working, goofing off and cleaning cars and cleaning the shop.”
Michelle joined the Maurice & Son shop around 2002, shortly before she and Mike wed.
“I married into it. Then this opportunity came up,” she said, gesturing to Collision Plus 2, “and here I am.”
The Bards purchased Collision Plus 2, then known as CJ’s, in 2011, and both it and Maurice & Son are still going strong.
“Basically I manage Fairfield, and [Michelle] manages up here,” Mike said. “She does bookwork and manages, and I do on-the-floor stuff and manage.”
They both enjoy Skowhegan’s small-town community vibe and friendly people, and Michelle said overseeing the Skowhegan location is interesting work with “a lot of challenges that I like to problem-solve.”
They employ seven people in Skowhegan to help with that challenging work. Walking through the shop, surveying the vehicles and saying hello to staff, Michelle was quick to note, “I don’t like to call them employees. They’re like family.”
The Collision Plus 2 family keeps busy installing Rhino Linings and fixing collision-damaged vehicles—“getting people back in their car when they have a bad day,” Mike noted.
He said there is “satisfaction knowing that you did a good job and that someone’s happy about it. Your car is usually your second-biggest investment in your life next to your house. It’s important to most people. It’s fun to see somebody pick up their car after they have a bad accident and to see them go, ‘Geez, it looks brand-new again.’”
“That’s the best,” Michelle said.