Traditional positive values define success at CSN Keizer’s Collision Centre in HalifaxBy Kristen Lipscombe
For Jordan Keizer, family is the driving force within both his professional and personal lives.
In his work life, Jordan manages 16 employees at CSN Keizer’s Collision Centre on Hobsons Drive in Halifax, nestled in the always-busy Bayers Lake Industrial Park. He’s committed to treating all of his staff members with the same kindness and respect that he gives to his own relatives, which is no surprise, considering the impressive family history behind the well-respected Keizer’s brand, which spans more than four decades in the automotive industry across Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM).
“Everyone works really hard in our family,” Jordan said while taking a brief break from working right alongside his team members on car repairs in the large Bayers Lake back shop.
“I don’t know if it’s a trait or you’re brainwashed at a young age,” he said with a chuckle.
While Jordan, 29, runs the Keizer’s location in central Halifax, his older brother Justin, 33, runs OK Tire and his father Dale, 53, heads up CSN Keizer’s Collision, both located on Sackville Drive in Middle Sackville, which is the same area where patriarch grandfather John worked his way up from sweeping shop floors to owning his own body shop, kick-starting his family’s shared passion for everything automotive.
John, 74, is in fact still running Keizer’s Auto Sales, also in Middle Sackville, while grandmother Carol, 72, takes care of all the accounting for the various Keizer-run businesses. “She’s been saying she’s going to retire for the last six years,” Jordan said, “but she just keeps showing up to work.”
The family also owns Keizer’s Tire Auto Service on Cow Bay Road in Eastern Passage, a smaller shop that is well-respected by the local community there.
“Everyone in the family is still very involved,” Jordan said, adding he imagines that tradition will be passed down to his own three small children, and a fourth now on its way, with wife Morgan managing the home team while Jordan is busy at work from sunrise to sunset.
“I have a great wife,” Jordan happily admitted. “And that is a big part of it. By March, we’ll have four children under the age of four; I have two boys, a girl and another boy on the way.”
Brother Justin is also married, with two kids, so it looks like the Keizer commitment of strong family values and business ethics will continue to be passed down for many generations to come.
“You wear a lot of pride when you come to work every day and that’s your name on the building,” Jordan said of how the importance of family motivates him in every aspect of his life.
“I take full accountability for everything that goes on in the business,” he said of why he keeps himself not just aware of but involved in every aspect of CSN Keizer’s Collision Centre, from greeting customers with a warm smile and handshake at the front desk, to mentoring his apprentices and technicians in the garage, to ensuring everything is running smoothly operationally.
“I want to make sure that everything with our family’s company goes great,” Jordan said. “We’re very process driven, and to be honest, I’m probably harder on myself than I am on anybody else in our company, and I think it needs to be that way, especially from a manager’s point of view.”
It’s a positive business philosophy that has clearly been passed down through three generations – and more to come.
“So, I’ve got to to show up every day with the same mindset of… putting my best effort in and leading by example,” Jordan said. “I’m thankful for the team that I have here.”
Jordan’s enthusiastic attitude and dedication to hard work clearly does rub off on his employees, who are just as welcoming and friendly as their boss, a vibe that can be immediately felt by any customer who walks through the front doors of CSN Keizer’s Collision Centre, formerly known as The Coachworks Limited. The Keizer’s bought the business about ten years ago.
“It took a while to build the team,” Jordan said, explaining he kept some employees from Coachworks, moved some from other Keizer locations, and hired others along the way – with each and every staff member adding something special to his work family. “It’s created a great environment to work in.”
The passion that Jordan and his team have for their jobs at CSN Keizer’s Collision Centre have even recently resulted in national recognition. The shop falls under a network of companies called CSN Collision, which according to its website carefully selects automotive shops across the country “based on their business practices and high-quality repair standards.”
“It is the promise that you receive from your CSN Collision Centre that guarantees that your vehicle has been repaired to like-new condition so that you can get back on the road with confidence,” the website says.
In 2023, the Keizer location run by Jordan won both the Customer Experience Award, based on excellent reviews over the course of the year, and the award for Sales Growth of the Year across Atlantic Canada, marking the second year in the row for that nomination.
“We’ve had awesome back-to-back years of very large sales growth in Halifax,” Jordan said, adding “there’s been a lot of work that has gone into that.”
Keizer’s Halifax was also nominated for Shop of the Year nationally and the Consumer Choice Award for Business Excellence in the Halifax region under the CSN Collision Centre umbrella, with an awards ceremony held in Muskoka, Ont., this past September.
Father Dale, of course, couldn’t be prouder of his son’s automotive accomplishments.
As a fairly new and young general manager, Jordan has faced and overcome industry learning curves in a short amount of time, coming out on top quickly, his father said. “He has been able to diversity his workload and organize floor production to increase sales and service values with staff.”
“We are extremely proud of his work ethics and continued growth in his leadership skills,” Dale told Auto and Trucking Atlantic. “He has accomplished an amazing amount of industry knowledge that is helping to keep all of our stores on the leading edge.”
But Jordan in turns passes that credit back to his father, whose leadership and mentorship over the years has inspired him to be the very best professional and person he can be, from shop life to home life.
Much thanks to his father, collision repair became a natural career path for Jordan. Growing up in Middle Sackville, he would go to school during the day and then walk to the body shop down the road “to hang out with the guys.
“And when Dad was off work, I’d jump in the truck with him and we went home,” he said. “And that was pretty much my days. Jordan “didn’t even think twice” about what he was meant to do in life. “It was second nature.”
“I have a true passion for fixing vehicles,” Jordan said. “I took the trade out of high school, became an apprentice, worked on the floor and I’m red seal certified.”
“And I still work on them here and there where I can,” said Jordan, who was doing shop work the very day Auto and Trucking stopped by to chat with him about his business success.
Much like his grandfather and father, Jordan is always looking toward the future. He’s now hoping to connect with post-secondary institutions such as Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) to encourage, mentor and teach young automotive professionals who may be interested in pursuing collision repair as a career path.
“We need to find fresh young people coming into the trade from school,” Jordan said. “It would be great to set something up with them, and have them in, and maybe show them through the shop, and get to know the kids while they’re in school, and maybe set up an opportunity to have them work with us.”
Jordan’s advice to young people considering the automotive industry as a career?
“Just put your hands on cars,” he said. “As soon as you start taking something a part or figuring something out on your own, in your own way, it’s something you become proud of very quickly.”
Jordan said collision repair remains a growing trade “on the insurance side.”
“The work is there; it’s not going anywhere,” he said. “It’s quite busy with great opportunities for people to come in and make some good money within our companies.”
Beyond the Keizers and the work team he has built in his Bayers Lake collision shop, Jordan also looks at his customers as important members of his business family.
“At the end of the day, we’re here to serve a client,” Jordan said, “and give you the best experience possible.”