CHAMPAIGN – After 40 years in the accident repair business, Tim Tatman has sold his business and will spend the next year traveling with his wife and colleague, Donna.
“It was a fun race, but it’s about time,” Tatman said.
The Tatmans made the decision to sell Tim Tatman’s Carstar at 701 N. Mattis Ave. at Caliber Collision, based in California.
“I had no intention of retiring so soon,” Tatman said. “But the offer they made to buy the business was too good to pass up at this point. My sons (Chris and Matt) will run the store. All but one of the employees are staying, so everything will be the same except I won’t be there. But my sons will, and so everything will be pretty much the same. Because of this, I could go away.
Tatman got started in the business when his father, Paul, opened a repair center in 1959. He started working for his father from a young age, cleaning the facility for 50 cents a week. Tim rose through the ranks and learned all the jobs at the establishment before joining his father full time in 1981.
Paul sold his shops in 2006 to Plainfield-based Car Care Collision Centers, and the Tatmans signed an agreement not to use their name on a competing auto repair shop.
In 2015, Tatman’s collision repair center opened, and Car Care immediately sought an injunction against the name. After Champaign County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Ford said Tatman shouldn’t use his name with the words “collision” or “repair,” he changed the name to Tim Tatman’s Auto Body.
Car Care was not satisfied and Ford decided that Tatman could not use his own last name in the company name, but he could tell that his store belonged to Tim Tatman.
His store was called “Tim’s Auto Body”, but in 2019, partnered with Carstar and reopened as Tatman’s Carstar.
“The public supported me during all of this,” he said. “The employees too. I was very lucky to have great people working for me. People who care and have the same vision as me when it comes to customer service and the quality of work.
When Tatman closed his store on December 10, there were 36 employees.
“The customers have also been great,” he added. “They always came to me even during times when Tatman’s name was not on the company. But we did it by using good customer service and our quality of work. People found out about us through The News-Gazette articles and word of mouth. He really grew up fast and grew faster than I expected. “
Founded in 1997, Caliber has more than 1,300 centers nationwide and offers a full range of automotive services. Calls to the store were referred to company headquarters. Messages left were not resent.
Tim said he was looking forward to traveling with Donna. The couple have just bought a motorhome to take to the road.
“We are preparing to go to Florida for three months and then we will be traveling for a year,” he said. “From there, I’ll figure out what I want to do. “
Donna was an accountant for the store.
“When we started it was just her and me up front,” he said. “As we got older she went full time and we made her a home office. She was there with me all the time. She was such an important part of what we did.
Tatman has said he looks forward to retirement.
“We are starting a new chapter in our life and I am delighted to see what God has in store for us,” he said. “It was an incredible trip. We feel grateful and God is good.