• City Wide Towing

    A New Approach To An Old Industry

    How How A Local Business Totally Transformed Her Towing Company’s Image and Position Within the Community and the Industry.

    From the dark ages of ‘Old World' to today’s high tech equipment, new systems and a fresh approach to Customer Service, Karen Mancewicz totally revitalized City Wide Towing from top to bottom. City Wide started in Mishawaka by founder Bill Young. At the time, not unlike other towing companies of the day, Bill’s operated as a down and dirty (really dirty) business. The equipment was not kept in the greatest condition (including wreckers) and the shop was a one (sometimes two) person company. Some people say that the general attitude at Bill’s those days was “hey, if we can get there we’ll tow ya, if not yer on yer own.”

    However, that attitude and approach would soon create some culture shock and real big changes.

  • It was 1989 when along came J.D. Smith and his right hand gal Karen Bonnell. JD was a local independent wholesaler of used cars at the time (he had purchased Greater Mishawaka Auto Auction) about 4 years earlier. At the time Karen was working for JD just a few hours a week trying to make ends meet. JD believed that the auto auction and towing company shared a lot of synergies so he decided to purchase it from Young. Before long Karen found herself running a towing company with a focus on improving systems and customer service. Two years later she would marry JD and the couple would continue their work/personal relationship, side-by-side to make the businesses grow.

    Over the next several years both organizations (Bill’s and GMAA) would grow under the pair’s leadership. JD and Karen’s relationship grew from professional to personal and in 1991 the couple married. However the professional relationship continued and side-by-side the two worked to make the businesses grow and prosper. Under Karen’s leadership the organization began to change. “We made a concentrated effort on improving equipment and our facilities. It was my goal to make the place more professional”, Karen recalled. “We cleaned up the facilities, upgraded equipment and worked on making the overall company more ‘customer friendly’ and professional.”

    Things continued to fall into place, when suddenly, tragedy struck their lives. It was December of 2002; Karen was working at the towing company that evening dispatching trucks. Police called and requested a tow truck be sent to the scene of a serious accident. She called for one of her wreckers to take the tow. It was Karen’s stepson Chad who she dispatched. Chad happened to be on call that evening. What Karen did not know at the time of the call was that her son Joshua had been involved in the tragic accident. He and two of his friends died at the scene.

    After the horrifying incident Karen was lost. Her only salvation was to throw herself into her work. “I had to work very hard every day. That helped me keep my mind off of negative thinking. It was my way of staying preoccupied. The healing process took a long, long time and you never really get over it.” However Karen and JD continued their journey and things eventually got better.

    Unfortunately as things progressed misfortune struck again. It was early 2010; JD was not feeling well and visited his doctor for testing. A few days later, he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. The doctors gave him approximately 15 months if he had the surgery and took the treatments. Fifteen months later JD passed away.

    “Businesses are like trains, if someone doesn’t direct them they’ll go off the track.”

    While the blow was devastating Karen made the conscious effort to keep the dream alive. She recollects her decisions to stay or fold the business. “I just went back to work. I had to.” Karen emphatically stated, “Businesses are like trains, if someone doesn’t direct them they’ll go off the track.” However there was more than that obligation that drove her decision “I also knew that keeping the business open meant that I was keeping my mind preoccupied. For me, it was an emotional survival decision.” And she continued to grow both companies.

    In 2014 Karen made the decision to cut all ties from the “old” Bill’s City Wide. Her goal was to once and for all remove any negative stigmas that might be attached from previous ownership. She changed the name to simply City Wide, she commissioned a new logo to be created and even changed the web domain to towcitywide.com. The new company finally had the new coat of paint it needed.

    A year later even more changes were on the horizon for Karen. That’s when she wed Mark Mancewicz , a popular auto dealer in Michiana. Mark, the owner of Elkhart’s Market Motors says that Karen is quite the business owner. “She has a winner’s attitude however, you may not want to step in her way because she is one very determined lady. But she’s also a great partner. I think we make a good pair. If you’re trying to tell us apart, she’s the smart one, I’m the pretty one,” Mark says with a big grin.

    Today City Wide has new and improved wreckers, facilities and systems. "We focus on giving the customer the service they deserve and we treat them the way they should be treated.” Smith says with a confident smile. “We are in the service business, we just need to remember the basics; be fair, be honest, be efficient and deliver what we say we're going to. Our staff has made this a reality and they stand behind that mission. Our customers appreciate us more than ever… and I like that.

    Karen’s attitude and approach have certainly paid off as City Wide has become one of the largest and best run towing companies in the northern half of the state. Furthermore they’ve developed a reputation for exceptional customer service in a business where customers start out in less than a positive mood. Kudos to Karen Mancewicz and her City Wide Team!


    Towing of most all vehicles including semis, motorcycles and even other tow trucks

    Lockout Services for people who have lost keys or locked their keys inside their vehicles

    Roadside Assistance including vehicle service on the location of a breakdown

    Tire Service and Repair including repairing and/or replacing flat or blown out tires
    For more information visit towcitywide.com



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