With a product he can believe in and a distributor he can rely on, Owner James Aurora at Sonny’s Collision Specialists in Ozone Park, NY is happy with his four spray booths made by USI ITALIA and delighted with Centerline Spray Booths his jobber in Amityville, NY. These are relationships built on trust and accountability and one of the main reasons why Sonny’s two locations are hitting their numbers each and every week.
In addition to owning and operating Sonny’s, Aurora and his partner Jack Bonventre have Northside Auto Body in Poughkeepsie, NY, a 45-year-old business that also features two USI booths. It’s all about family when it comes to the two shops, with Bonventre’s son Anthony managing Northside and Aurora as a third-generation owner whose grandfather started the business in 1946.
Aurora’s UTI Chronotech booths are designed specifically to work with waterborne paint Sonny’s was the first shop to spray waterborne paint in the State of New York in 2007 for all the right reasons. “There were a lot of good reasons for us to switch to a waterborne product,” he said. “It’s obviously better for the environment, but it enables us to minimize waste, dial in better color matches with better coverage and quicker flash times,”
Two of Aurora’s best business decisions are the fact that he never signed up for a DRP and the acquisition of USI spray booths. “There have never been any questions about the quality and construction of the USI booths because fuggedaboutit. We got our first USI booth in 2001 that was more conventional and then another one in 2017 with all of the bells and whistles. We now have four USI booths total, with two at each location, and older model and a newer one and it works out well. That original booth is almost 20 years old and it’s still going strong. I call in Old Faithful!”
With the newer USI booth, Aurora and his painters use their EPS system to determine every parameter of every paint job. “The painters love it because it strips all of the guesswork out of the process,” he said. “Plus, with their turbines, we never have to worry about getting all of the water out of the paint. You won’t ever need any additional air flow with a USI booth, and you can take it to the bank.”
Depending on how much technology you want, there are three different configurations available, including DYNAMIC featuring DGTouch Lite control panel; ELITE featuring DGTouch control panel and SUPREMACY with DGTouch, EPS and DGT Manager software.
“We use every aspect of the software and love it,” Aurora said. “We can control the temperature; the lights and we know precisely how much power we’re using at any time. We get detailed reports that we can analyze and decide where we can improve and be more efficient.”
When Aurora began searching around for new booths nearly two decades ago, he was persuaded to go with USI for many reasons, including a cultural connection to the equipment. “Yes, I like the fact that they all are made in Italy. I’m Italian and I know from experience that Italy makes the best food, cars, music and art—and of course, paint booths!”
John Chiafair is the owner of Centerline Spray Booths, a company that represents USI and helps Aurora when called upon even though issues are few. He’s knows USI Chronotechs inside and outside and that’s why he loves recommending them, he said. He has seen a lot of shops in the New York area using USI’s DGTouch and DGT Manager to control everything completely. That means they receive precise data on their energy consumption in real-time for each job, including time reports for the single phases, operators and pieces.
Top-notch support and service from USI is a no-brainer for Aurora and his staffs at both Sonny’s Collision Specialists and Northside Auto Body and that’s why they expect it. “Back in the old days, the paint booth companies had zero customer service,” he said. “They would sell you the equipment and then told you good luck, knock yourself out. The support team at USI is amazing, they know their products inside and out and they’re passionate about it.
In the end, the numbers tell all and when Aurora looks at his, they have to smile. “We know that by using these booths, we are painting one more vehicle every day from each location. That’s more than 100 cars every year, which is outstanding.”
Looking back at his relationship with USI, Aurora gets that warm and fuzzy feeling. “I tell people that if you don’t have a good paint booth, you’re in trouble. Every car that comes in here has to go through a paint booth, so it’s a big deal. It’s a big part of our production and definitely one of the reasons why we’re still here after 74 years.”