After a night of storms accompanied by destructive hail, business has been booming for auto body shops in and around Hot Springs as dented cars keep coming in.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — After a major hailstorm on Wednesday evening, people in and around Hot Springs have been dealing with the consequences.

The storm left many people with extensive damage to their vehicles, so because of that business has been booming at auto body shops as the dented cars just keep coming.

Dwayne Graves, Manager of Gregg Orr Collision in Hot Springs explained that he has never seen hail like this.

Before their shop opened up on Thursday morning, Graves had a line of people ready to go in for repairs.

“You open up at eight, and cars are stacked up at the gate waiting on you at 7:15 a.m.,” Graves described.

Though there aren’t signs of that slowing down.

“There’s been at least eight to 10 customers in the office since 7:15 a.m. this morning,” he added.

They recently expanded their garage because they were expecting business growth, but he said he didn’t expect it to happen so fast. 

“If you add up all the insurance companies and the phone calls and the customers we’ve seen this morning, we’re probably way over 80 that are already trying to get on the books,” Graves said.

 After hail damaged his truck on Wednesday night, Ralf Bailes made an appointment as soon as he could.

“Windshield’s good, it’s just the hood, roof and there’s dings around the sides,” Bailes explained.

During dinner with his family, Bailes said he thought about quickly moving it when the hail started but for his own safety, he decided not to. 

“There’s no way because the hail was probably two or three inches out there. And you know, I wasn’t gonna get out there and get knocked out,” he explained.

Even though it’s something nobody wants to deal with, he said he’s thankful for only minimal damage. 

“There’s a lot of that hail damage that busted the windows out. So I’m lucky,” he said.

In the meantime, Graves has been working around the clock. 

“We’ve ordered extra crash wrap and stuff for people’s windows because we’ve got a lot of body shops in Hot Springs, but no one is going to have windows in stock or this or that. So we’re crash wrapping people’s windows to keep water out so they can go and hopefully, we see them back,” he added.

One of their insurance companies is sending out a catastrophe response team to help them during this busy time. 

“We’re just gonna have to schedule the customers the best we can,” Graves explained.

The influx of customers isn’t just a one-day thing and they expect to stay busy for the next couple of weeks as they continue to write estimates.


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