We are proud to announce that Grand Central Collision is under new ownership! Brent Maier and Tim Burger purchased Grand Central Collision on August 1, 2020. Brent has prior experience as the third-generation owner and operator of Charlie's Auto Body, a similar-sized collision repair facility in Lynden. Tim has extensive experience in many entrepreneurial roles and is the owner of a few local businesses.
Winning the GOLD CLASS -ICAR award for superior performance in the industry, Grand Central Collision is well-known for a high-end and state-of-the-art shop, providing customers with repairs that will last a lifetime.
Located just off I-5 on Iowa street (locally known as Auto Row) in beautiful Bellingham, Washington, Grand Central Collision has been in the auto body business for over 75 years.
Growing up, some of Brent’s favorite memories were driving around with his dad in his white 1969 Corvette convertible that he had owned since before Brent was born. Moments like these helped develop Brent’s passion for cars, and many of his favorite memories were surrounded by automobiles. Brent’s middle name is Charles after his grandfather, Charles Maier, who started Charlie’s Auto Body in Lynden in 1958. Brent had always felt a closeness to his namesake and to the business he poured his life into, so it was natural that Brent started working there at the age of 15 doing shop cleanup, paint prep, and detailing; then began learning estimating and other aspects of the business.
Brent worked from the ground up, learning the inner workings of the business and the industry itself and took over ownership of Charlie’s Auto Body from his late father, Bill Maier, in his late 20’s. Brent is proud to be the third-generation owner of his family’s business. It was a lot to handle at such a young age, but he always felt the need to rise to the challenge, grow the business, and continually make it better than it was before. There was a part of Brent that wondered if people might see him differently, being the owner’s son, and he did not want anyone to think he was there because of family partiality or bias. Brent worked hard to make sure there was no question- he was in his position because he earned it.
Brent fell in love with the constant act of improvement, and dedicated his time and energy into continually bettering all aspects of the business including customer service, efficiency, and quality. Within a few years of Brent taking the reins, Charlie’s was already expanding the building in order to double the production area. It was truly a labor of love, and Brent’s knowledge, skills, drive, and vision have proven to be incredibly valuable to the company.
Brent’s father had always told him, “don't be afraid to invest into the business, you never want to fall behind.” Brent has kept that same mindset, always making sure Charlie’s continues to be best-equipped for any repair. When aluminum-body vehicles first were becoming popular, the financial investment required for the proper repair equipment was a major expense. Many shops declined investing in the tooling, but Brent dove right in. He never wanted to have to tell one of his clients that he could not repair their vehicle because he did not have the equipment, or worse, say he could fix it and not do it properly. Because of their investments and technology, Charlie’s Auto Body became one of the few shops in the state to be a Ford Certified Repair Facility. From there, Brent pursued certification from all major car makers. Charlie’s Auto Body is proud to be one of the most highly-certified shops in the area, which is no small feat especially for a shop their size. Vehicle manufacturers have strict expectations of equipment, training, customer service, and quality standards in order for a collision facility to achieve certification. Sometimes when manufacturers design these programs they have a dealership-sized shop in mind, so it is an incredible accomplishment for a smaller shop to achieve.
Brent’s focus on growth, customer service, and absolute quality in everything he does has been a clear asset to Charlie’s Auto Body, and has cemented his reputation in the community as someone with incredible drive, integrity, and commitment to doing things precisely and accurately.
Brent loves the outdoors, fast cars, going off-roading and jumping trucks, boating, fishing, hiking, and traveling just about anywhere that he can find sunshine and a beach.
Why Grand Central
For years, Brent has admired Grand Central Collision, as they were well-known as one of the biggest and best shops in the county. As a kid, Brent used to drive by it in awe, wondering how a shop could look so upscale, and was fascinated that they had the quality to back up the appearance of the building. In his younger years, Brent felt like it was a fantasy to own a shop with the impressive nature of Grand Central Collision. When he first heard that the prior owner of Grand Central was looking to fully retire, he realized he might actually have a chance.
Brent’s passion and involvement with the collision repair industry has given him an incredible wealth of knowledge over the years. He would find himself in conversations with other shop owners who were hesitant to invest in the technical improvements needed to repair a newer vehicle properly, but Brent knew that the expense would always be worth it. Brent’s dedication to being a leader in his field drove him to keep up with the ever-changing technology, and his deep-seated desire to ensure that every car on the road was repaired safely and appropriately fueled his drive to grow the business. Charlie’s was doing things right, but they were one small shop in a large market, and Brent often wondered if he was making enough of a difference at the end of the day. Grand Central Collision was a natural extension to Brent’s desire to build a large business where quality was more important than volume, and customer safety was worth the investment of time, money, and training. The successful improvements that Charlie’s had achieved would be a perfect fit with the size and location of Grand Central.
Even as a kid, Tim Burger had an eye for business. He purchased his first piece of equipment at an auction as a teenager, cleaned it up and sold it, then used the profit to buy more. He soon fell in love with buying and selling, and started picking up free items from garage sales, scouring the free sections of the classified ads in the paper, finding great deals, cleaning and repairing items, and passing them on to others. At 16, he began buying and selling motorcycles, go-karts, cars, and other larger items.
This became a fun side business for him as he moved on in his career as an owner and operator of The Green Barn grocery store in Lynden. As The Green Barn grew and became an established fixture in the community, Tim expanded his interests and bought into Lynden Dutch Bakery. In the process of owning and operating both businesses, he gained first-hand knowledge and incredible experience with business operations, management, productivity, organization and more.
As the Green Barn gained momentum and started to flourish, Tim sold out of the bakery and devoted his time to The Green Barn as well as Burger Buy and Sell, which by this time had become specialized in high-quality used restaurant equipment. His knowledge and abilities continued to help both businesses succeed, and he began doing kitchen design and other business consulting.
Tim's entrepreneurial spirit jumped at the chance to partner with Brent in the ownership of Grand Central Collision. Tim’s brilliant ability to analyze strengths and weaknesses, invest in what is important and needed, grow a business and increase profit while building a team of people who love what they do, has proven to be successful and will be an incredible asset to Grand Central Collision.
Tim is well known in the community for his seemingly endless energy, his drive, and his willingness to help others. His incredible business sense and vast knowledge create a perfect partnership with Brent to build and improve Grand Central Collision.
Tim lives in Lynden and loves the outdoors; when not working, he can be found hiking, kayaking, and enjoying life to the fullest.
Tim and Brent first met through mutual friends, and over the years would run into each other at small get-togethers and other social events. Both being business owners, they became great friends and would get into long conversations regarding business successes and struggles. They watched and supported each other’s careers and businesses over a 10 year span, and through that friendship could see how their strengths complimented the other. Tim could get just about anything done, and any time Brent ran into something unusual, Tim could give him great advice or even simply solve the issue. Tim developed a great respect for Brent’s honesty, integrity, and work ethic. Over the years, they entertained the idea of someday partnering up on a small venture. When Grand Central Collision came to Brent's attention, although it wasn't the small project they had originally planned for, Tim was still the man for the job. Brent’s vast knowledge and experience in the auto body industry and Tim’s extremely keen eye for detail and incredible productivity made for the perfect partnership. Working together, Brent and Tim shared many conversions with the prior owner, Don Benson, to build upon the organization he had established and to honor the reputation of Grand Central from the 90’s and early 2000’s. Don couldn't be happier to see his legacy live on by keeping the name on the building. The facility has great bones and a fantastic team. The equipment in use is all perfect for how cars are currently being made, but there are changes to vehicle manufacturing coming in the near future, so Brent and Tim have plans to invest in tools and equipment that will ensure they can continue Brent’s family tradition of investing in the business and putting quality and safety first.
Why We Do What We Do
We want to bring top-notch quality and customer service back to Grand Central. We have the experience to do so along with a new great team in the office to see it through. The automotive industry is changing quickly as vehicles are equipped with cameras, sensors, and computer systems rapidly approaching near-driverless cars, and we intend to keep up. We are equipped for these intricate and detailed repairs and are continuing our investments to keep pace with these changes so we can always do what is best for our customers. We strive to run as efficiently and streamlined as possible to ensure a quality, safe repair with the fastest turnaround time in the area.