At Mike’s, we pride ourselves on being a family business on many levels. First, we are a second-generation company, owned and operated by the Rose family. Secondly, we hire a lot of people from the same family, and lastly, we serve families all over the East Bay with 5-star repair services.
The Arvizu family is a perfect example of our “we are family” approach. Every member of the Arvizu Family has worked at Mike’s Auto Body at one point and today, Sam Arvizu manages both of our Walnut Creek locations and his wife Cheryl is the Office Manager at our Antioch location.
Both Cheryl and Sam are East Bay born and bred and proud of it. Sam Graduated from Hayward High School and Cheryl is a graduate of Castro Valley High. They have three children that are now grown and out of the house, pursuing great careers in computers and the medical field, respectively.
All of the Arvizu children have worked at Mike’s during their breaks from college, providing them with an awesome learning experience while teaching them the value of work. “The Rose family was incredible because they provided my kids with employment during the summers and vacations from high school and college (they have all graduated from Chico State University),” Cheryl Arvizu said. “Not too many companies would do that, but that’s what makes the Rose family so special. We don’t feel like just employees here; we feel like we’re part of a family.”
Cheryl and Sam’s daughter Samantha (age 28) helped to open our San Ramon location and now works in the medical field. Their son Jake, (age 26) worked in the parts department for several of our shops, including Walnut Creek and now works as a computer science engineer. Clay Arvizu (age 24) was employed initially as a prepper before becoming an estimator for Mike’s, and is also working currently in the computer industry in San Francisco.
Many young people don’t even know what to do after graduating from college, but every member of the Arvizu family has a plan B in place if it’s needed. “If any of my kids want to work in the collision repair industry, they’re fully trained and have the knowledge required to pursue it as a fallback plan.”
Sam has been working for Mike’s for 25 years and has 30 years of total industry experience overall. Sam’s father owned five Bay Area body shops where he worked for several years and learned many of the basics of collision repair.
“I literally grew up in body shops,” he said. “I would come in after school and detail vehicles. Pretty soon, I was prepping and painting cars myself. It was an amazing learning experience and that’s why I am well-rounded, by knowing a lot about different aspects of this industry.”
Sam is proud to be employee #152 at Mike’s. He was hired back in 1996 to work in our Concord/Fremont Street location as an estimator and worked up into management quickly. He has witnessed the company’s incredible growth over the past quarter-century.
“When I started here, we had two stores and now we have 17,” he said. “It shows that if you work hard and smart and make customer service a priority, good things can happen. I have learned the Mike’s way and it’s exceptional when I see it in action every day. When we get excellent feedback from our customers our whole team gets a boost. We train them to be the best and they are!”
One of Sam’s biggest challenges is the ever-changing computer-based systems in today’s vehicles, which requires cutting-edge tools, equipment, and top-notch training.
“The new body and paint products in this industry are the biggest change I’ve seen. Here we are always educating our employees and customers about the new innovations in collision. Now we do things we couldn’t even imagine back when I began. We have to scan every car now and each vehicle comes with its own history, all of which is documented by the car itself. It’s a great time to be working for a top company like Mike’s Auto Body.”
That’s why training is more important now than ever in the body shop world, Sam said. “We have to continually go through training because things are changing literally every day with these newer cars. I maintain my Platinum I-CAR status and all of my techs/estimators are some of the best (and well-trained) people in this industry.”
Cheryl is the Office Manager at our Antioch location and has been working for the company for more than a decade and a half. She began as a Customer Service Rep, but was quickly promoted into a management role by 2010.
“I did the stay-home mom thing while the kids were still young, and then when I was ready to get a job, I knew that I wanted to work at Mike’s. They create a family atmosphere and that’s why I think it works so well. We all support each other and work to be the best we can and we can see it every day here at Mike’s.”
One of the many reasons why the Arvizus are so proud to work at Mike’s is his involvement in the company’s well-known Benevolence Program, in which we give refurbished cars to deserving families, non-profit organizations, and individuals.
“I was there when we gave away the first car more than 20 years ago, and it is hard to believe that we will soon be giving away our 100th car,” Sam said. “It’s an awesome program because everyone gets involved—our techs work on the vehicles; the insurance companies donate the cars; our local vendors donate products and services, and the local fire department donates bikes for the kids. I love it when we call the new recipient to let them know that they’re getting a vehicle. Everyone cries and it’s a special moment.”
Thanks for being an integral part of our business and helping us to succeed here at Mike’s Auto Body, as we approach our 50-year anniversary.