Sitting down with Larry A. Baker, president
How did your business begin?
My uncle was serving in the Pacific during World War II. When he returned, he took my father on as an apprentice and taught him the trade. Subsequently, my father opened his auto body business in 1953 in a two-car garage. I started in the business in 1977 and served under my father’s leadership for many years.
How do you keep up with the latest advances in your field?
As the vehicles are becoming more technologically advanced, we are turning to the actual car manufacturers for training and certification. The cars and trucks we repair now use ultra high strength steels that are much stronger and lighter. This material cannot be straightened. It has to be replaced using very technologically advanced welders that do not overheat the steels. Overheating reduces the strength and thus the safety of the repair. They use these lightweight ultra high strength steels to help reduce the overall weight of the vehicle thus increasing fuel economy.
The second obstacle in repairing newer cars and trucks is the technology built into them. We have to connect our computers and scan the car for codes before we do anything to the car. The car’s codes tell us what it needs. Baker’s has the advanced technology that is required to properly repair these high-tech cars. That is why we have more manufacturers certifying us than any other shops in Columbia. We have done our homework, and we have invested in state-of-the-art equipment. That is what we describe as the “Baker difference.”
How has the Columbia community benefitted from your business?
Columbia benefits from Baker Collision in two ways. First we have a high quality, customer-centric company providing safe and efficient repairs. Second, Baker’s has more than 60 families that have secure, highly skilled, quality jobs. They are able to contribute to the local economy and raise their families in a wonderful growing and thriving community. We are proud to be part of the greater good going on here in Columbia.