Centennial CARSTAR Collision & Glass Service is part of the Kember family-owned and operated Centennial Auto Group which is the largest auto group on PEI.
“We are open during the pandemic as we are considered essential service,” says Jeff McKenna, Human Resources Manager, Centennial Auto Group.
The Centennial Auto Group sells cars and recreational vehicles, and offers auto and glass repair and vehicle rentals. They own and operate the following companies:
There are six dealerships:
- Centennial Honda in Summerside
- Centennial Mazda of Charlottetown
- Centennial Certified of Charlottetown
- Centennial Nissan, Summerside and Charlottetown
- Centennial Kia, Summerside
There are two recreational vehicle shops:
- Centennial Auto Sport & Tire in Charlottetown and Summerside.
Centennial CARSTAR Collision & Glass Service has six locations:
- Charlottetown, Summerside, and Moncton, Dieppe, Riverview, New Brunswick, and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
About Centennial CARSTAR Collision & Glass Service on PEI
The Summerside shop, first known as Centennial Auto Body, was the first to open in 1979. Charlottetown followed in 1987 and Moncton and Dieppe, in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
“We also offer PractiCar, a rental service for customers who need a car while theirs is being fixed,” said Jeff. “The idea is to make the process as seamless as possible for customers once their car has been in an accident until it’s been fixed. We also rent cars, trucks, vans, cube vans and 15 passenger vans to people as well.”
There are 16 employees in Charlottetown and 17 in Summerside. “Staff turnover is low. Some of our staff have been with us 25, 30 and nearly 35 years.”
- Auto Body Appraiser
- Auto Repair Technicians
- Store Manager
- Parts Advisor
- Car Rental Manager
- Car Rental Agent
- Office Manager
- Customer Service Representative
- Service Technician
“Everybody works full-time in this fast-paced environment.” Technicians work Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm. Office staff also takes calls and handle rentals on Saturdays from 9 am to noon.
Training, mentorship, and advancements
Jeff turned his teaching degree into a career in the automotive industry. Four years ago, he started at Centennial Honda in Summerside as Parts Advisor, and then moved to Sales Administration, Sales Manager, and now Human Resources Manager for Centennial Auto Group.
“It’s been terrific to do all these roles. It has helped me to understand the car business as a whole and see how the different departments/ dealerships can work together.”
“At CARSTAR, we want staff to see it as a career, not a job. We want to see them succeed in their role by treating them fair and creating an atmosphere that’s enjoyable to work in and where strong friendships are formed.”
Most of the training for Technicians is in-house. Many staff began as Detailers. Jeff says this entry-level position often helps determine if the employee has the positive attitude needed to move up in the organization.
“We like to see ambition and a willingness to learn and take instructions. The more they know, the more value they are to the company, and the more chance they have for advancement. Once they show potential in detailing cars, they are given light body work like sanding or installing bumpers, then they move on to painting and doing certain framework. A senior Technician works alongside a junior Technician, giving advice and critique.”
Difficult position to fill
“Auto Body Technician has been difficult to fill because the skill set is very specific. Our in-house training has helped lessen this concern.”
“We are always looking for good people who have an interest or experience in the industry,” says Jeff. “All of our open positions are posted under the careers page of our website. Our ads are also on Canada Job Bank, Facebook, Glassdoor and Indeed. Applicants are redirected to our website where they can apply directly.
“When interviewing potential candidates, we ask about past experience, their passion for cars, attention to detail, and how they get along with others. We ask about availability, reliability, and dependability. I also check references.”
Compensation & benefits
“We offer competitive wages, health benefits, and life and disability insurance,” says Jeff. “Every year, we have a staff appreciation day/ family barbecue and a Christmas banquet.”
Centennial CARSTAR holds an annual car wash and barbecue to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis Canada.
“The past is a good explanation of what we would like to see in the future as it pertains to growth,” Jeff says. “Our commitment is to customer service. We understand car accidents aren’t pleasant, so our goal is to make this experience the best it can be.”
For more about Centennial Auto Group, visit www.centennialautogroup.ca/en.
For more information on Centennial CARSTAR Collision & Glass Service, call 902-436-2603 Summerside or 902-368-2603 Charlottetown. Visit www.centennialcarstar.com.