Auto Service World
Feature   September 1, 2001   by Auto Service World

Over the Counter: September 2001

Longtime Aftermarket Executive Takes Over PartSource Store

John Hart, former vice-president, Arvin Meritor Light Vehicle Systems, and a longtime member of the Canadian automotive aftermarket, has purchased a PartSource franchise in his home town of Brantford, Ont.

Hart, who had been with Arvin for 13 years and in the aftermarket for nearly 35 years, is excited about the new challenge. He takes on responsibilities in a market that has a number of established players and looks forward to the challenge.

“I’m extremely interested in seeing if what I have believed in for so long actually works,” says Hart.

Hart says he believes the PartSource franchise is the model for the future and jokes that he has finally succeeded in turning a customer into a vendor, as he will now be buying from Canadian Tire instead of selling to them.

Hart has held a variety of positions at the supplier level in the aftermarket, and has been very involved with industry associations over the years. In 1991, he served a term as the chairman of the Automotive Industries Association of Canada.

Engine Parts Buying Group Opens Western Canada DC

The E.R.I. Group opened a Western Canada distribution center in early September.

The facility, operating under the Independent Parts Warehous-ing Inc. name, a wholly owned subsidiary of E.R.I., was scheduled to be open for business at its Edmonton, Alta. location on Septem-ber 4, 2001. The facility will be managed by Russ Tomlinson.

At 3,600 square feet, the facility will improve the availability of 17 key product lines to 106 of the buying group’s 254 engine rebuilder members who are located in Western Canada. This will telescope shipping times to a matter of hours or overnight, from three to five days.

Fore-Tenn Marketing Partner Killed in Motorcycle Crash

Tom Hodgson, 58, partner in Fore-Tenn Marketing West, was killed in early August in a motorcycle accident near Chicago, Ill.

Hodgson was in Chicago to attend the National Hardware Show and was combining a motorcycle trip with his business duties. Also injured in the accident was Terry MacInnis, who worked with Hodgson as a salesman and was also his brother-in-law. His injuries were not considered life-threatening. No other details were available on the accident.

Hodgson, who was born in Lloydminster, Sask., was an active partner at Fore-Tenn, visiting jobbers in Western Canada regularly as well as working trade shows, directing seminars and detailing.

By all accounts, Hodgson was an experienced and cautious rider. He was a chapter director of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association and logged more than 40,000 kilometers annually.

Hodgson is survived by his wife Gynt, sons Rob and Bryan, stepson Brent and five grandchildren.

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Bestbuy Distributors has announced the expansion of two shareholders. Harry Barrow Enterprises has opened a new store in Thunder Bay, Ont. This is its third location in the region. Located in the center of the town at 317 Euclid Avenue, this new branch has 13,000 square feet. Halton Automotive opened a new store, DLN Auto Parts Supply, located in Burlington, Ont., at 3245 Harvester Road. Other Halton Automotive locations are in the towns of Georgetown and Milton, Ont.

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Bumper to Bumper has welcomed Y and C Enterprises Ltd., Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, to its associate program. Owner Yvo Arvit can be reached at (867) 645-2546.

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Kennedy Sales Company has moved its Ontario office to a new location. Joe Mercanti can now be reached at 138 Appleblossom Drive, Hamilton, Ont., Phone (905) 318-8982, Fax (905) 318-6806.

Jobber Learns Changeover Lessons Well

When Oakville, Ont. jobber John Wood was considering a major line change, he decided to do his homework and do it one step at a time. It was an important part of making the changeover successful.

“We went to our customers and said that we had an alternative source,” says the owner of Auto Sense shareholder Car Parts Company. That initial discussion was made all the more important because his company was the first jobber in Canada to offer the line, the Spicer chassis line from Dana Brake & Chassis.

“We told (our customers) that we had researched the line. They know I wouldn’t come to them with a product that wasn’t good.” Still, he says, the issue was about service, not about the product. Now, six months later, he says that the service and support he is receiving for the new line has lived up to expectations; the effort by supplier reps, including seminars, clinics and detailing calls, has paid dividends.

“Basically, old-fashioned marketing, the way it used to be. And that has worked very well.”

He has also been able to differentiate his business from the competition with the line. “We’d rather sell something different; it takes away from price being the main point. We wanted to come out with a quality, first-line product and also make some money.”

His advice to jobbers looking to make a move on a major line? Do your homework.

“Think about the whole package,” says Wood. “From pricing through to marketing, look at how you’re going to take the product to market. You’re buying the line and the support, not just the product.”

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