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It all began for the ABD in 1970 when a group of nine body shop owners decided to do something about the waning interest in their local association. In order to spur up interest in joining the group, the shop owners came up with the idea of contracting local jobbers to see if they would be interested in participating in a program that would allow association members to get a discount when purchasing supplies. According to co-founder Burt Gelzeiler, the response was not very positive. The shop owners decided to put in $500 and buy some supplies. They figured to hire a salesman to go out to their members and see if they'd be interested in buying supplies. Of all the hats worn by shop owners back then, the least emphasis was put on purchasing. The shop owners had the vision of starting a cooperating group. It was unheard of that shop owners could work together on a money-saving project. Soon, the response was overwhelming.

The newly named Auto Body Distributing Co. soon offered other shops the chance to buy shares in the company. The group became a business of members for members. By the end of the group's first year, there were 21 shareholders. Eight years later, the number had grown to over 100. At that point, ABD rented a storefront, hired help, created a large inventory and set up a network of dealers who would offer additional discounts.

Thirty years later, the ABD has become a force in the industry with over 200 stockholders and annual sales from inventory of $3 million. ABD represents over $20 million in hard parts purchases and supplies stockholders with shop supplies at huge savings in addition to the best hard parts discounts.

It costs $1650 to join ABD. This is the cost of the stock providing the joining shop with partial ownership. Other benefits include mailed flyers and mini-trade shows held at ABD in Irvington that inform shops of new parts or special deals.

In the words of Burt Geltzeiler, "They said it couldn't be done. Well, they were wrong."

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