From the Mag: What a Concept

If you’re at all familiar with restylers across the country, you’ve probably heard of Automotive Concepts in Minneapolis. These northerners not only have thick blood due to the cold weather, but have also proven to have thick skin when it comes to the trials and tribulations of becoming a premier accessory shop.

The company now known as Automotive Concepts was formed in 1985 to solve a problem. Hollandia was a Minnesota-based sunroof manufacturer that was moving its operations to Michigan. Two employees, Steve Harris and John Fisher, were settled locally in Minneapolis and wanted to stay.

They worked out a deal with Hollandia to open a shop to sell and install sunroofs in the Minneapolis area. There weren’t any other local shops in those days, so Hollandia helped them state Automotive Restyling Concepts. They immediately began marketing power sunroofs to local car dealerships.

Business started off OK, but Harris and Fisher needed help, so they decided to hire a salesperson to focus on growing the business. The candidate they selected was John Prosser, a 25-year-old college graduate that had grown up in a family business but was ready for a new challenge. He had recently married his wife, Lisa, and was ready to spread his wings.

Harris and Fisher did their due diligence by interviewing Lisa Prosser to see what she thought about her husband joining the team. She laughed and told them, “You don’t know what you’re getting!”

She was right in many aspects, because not only was John Prosser a talented salesperson with a fun personality, but he had also grown up in a family of entrepreneurs and understood all aspects of the business. He helped ARC grow quickly.

In fact, opportunity came calling just eight months into his new career. By this time Harris had left the business and Fisher was also ready to move on. Would Prosser want to buy the fledgling company?

Click here to read the full article in the August issue of THE SHOP

Josh Poulson

Named the 2022-23 SEMA Person of the Year, Josh Poulson is the principal of Auto Additions in Columbus, Ohio, which was named Restyler of the Year, 2012-13. Auto Additions offers a complete line of product upgrades including 12V and appearance packages with a specific focus on the dealership segment. Josh is chairman of the SEMA PRO council.

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