Nick & Ernie’s, a Fix Auto collision repair facility, has built a small empire of mechanical, collision, auto glass and truck and fleet shops in the Skokie, IL, area.
Family-owned and operated since 1969, Ernie Loggarakis and his sister, Sandy Dimoulis, now oversee the family business, which began as a service station founded by their parents. Loggarakis started working there as a teen, pumping gas and doing other chores. He went to college for two years and returned in 1986, when he bought a body shop and added collision repair to the auto mix of services.
Since that time, Nick & Ernie’s has grown rapidly. To keep up with its collision repair growth, Nick & Ernie’s turned to Spanesi for various equipment. Loggarakis’ first purchase was the Spanesi Multibench. He was searching for equipment with a unibody lift as a smaller repair center. He bought the lift nine years ago, and it has become an important workhorse in the repair center.
He purchased the Multibench from Tim Morgan, Spanesi Americas’ COO, based in Naperville, not far from Nick and Ernie’s Skokie location. “Ernie came to our facility in early 2013, with his father Nick, to look at the Multibench in our Training Center,” said Morgan.
“Spanesi Americas was just starting, and we discussed past vendors and a facility owner’s needs. After that first meeting, it helped me create how Spanesi Americas is today: Quality products, service, support and training. No shortcuts or ‘taillight guarantees’ with us.
We consider our clients family!” The Multibench employs an electro-hydraulic lift suitable for lifting most vehicles. The bench lowers to a total height of just over an inch, allowing technicians to use the repair bay for multiple repair operations.
In shopping for the right equipment, Loggarakis looked at several other vendors, but none possessed the multi-tasking features of Spanesi. “Spanesi was a perfect fit for our needs,” he said. Loggarakis was so happy with the Spanesi Multibench, he added four additional benches in 2020, when Nick & Ernie’s underwent a 7,500-square foot expansion of the body shop.
With that expansion, Loggarakis also added the PULL UP! repair system for structural and cosmetic glue pulling and the Touch electronic measuring system. The Touch system allows measuring a vehicle frame and structural items, mechanical parts, user-added points with photos, wheel and tire alignment, suspension parts and comparative measurements.
The Touch provides a complete set of post-repair documents. The technician and customer can be confident the vehicle has been returned to OEM specifications. Loggarakis said he’s been pleased with the Touch’s performance, as it makes his estimates and blueprinting much more accurate because it identifies any structural damage early in the diagnostics process.
As Nick and Ernie’s continues to expand its collision repair operations, Spanesi is a reliable business partner in facilitating that growth. Loggarakis also purchased the Spanesi 106 EXT Structural Straightening Bench, designed for larger and longer vehicles.
He shopped around with other providers but landed with Spanesi because of its greater versatility. With the 106 EXT investment, Loggarakis said it’s allowed the shop to update its capabilities to work on more modern vehicles, including Tesla. Nick & Ernie’s is undergoing its Tesla certification.
Perhaps Loggarakis’ favorite aspect of the Spanesi brand is its service after the sale. “One of my big pet peeves are vendors that drop off a six-figure piece of equipment with a ‘have a nice day mentality,’” he said. He described Spanesi’s training support and service as “exceptional,” and credits Morgan for his breadth of knowledge and attentive service and care to his customers.
Morgan holds monthly training classes in Naperville. Loggarakis has sent four of his techs there in the last two years. At first, the techs had “culture shock” with the 106 EXT, but once they got used to it, they love how it’s efficient, quick and easy to use.
Morgan has also provided on-site training support for the facility. For Nick & Ernie’s, its longterm reputation of providing quality collision repair is built on its service quality, attention to detail and its loving care of customers’ vehicles. With Spanesi’s exceptional products and support, Loggarakis believes there is nothing they can’t do as a shop.
“We can go into the future knowing Spanesi will meet all of our needs,” he said.