P&A Auto Parts Chain grows to West Milford

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:49

    P & A Auto Parts has added another location to its growing chain with the opening of its thirteenth store, this one here in West Milford on Union Valley Road. Located at the former site of LIHP Auto Parts, this marks their first location outside more heavily populated areas in Bergen, Essex and Passaic Counties. According to Russell Guarcello, Sales VP, this new location "enables us to move beyond traditional auto parts sales and distribution. For the first time, we're venturing into some new areas, namely marine parts and supplies, paints and paint finishes, and small engine repair parts." "Our business is generally 90 percent wholesale, 10 percent retail. Based on early sales figures, we're surprised with our retail sales so far n there's a lot of small business owners and ‘handymen' who are shopping here already," stated Russ. P&A's wholesale customer base is spread throughout Northern New Jersey, and includes new car dealerships, auto repair shops, and retailers such as Pep Boys, Good Year, Firestone and Sears. "We don't compete with retailers, but if we don't have an item in stock, we can get it, usually overnight." Between the stores and the Saddle Brook distribution facility, P&A carries a $7 million parts inventory. If they don't stock it, they draw from the NAPA warehouse in South Plainfield. Guarcello added "We compete based on our inventory, our service, and our competitive pricing. We currently have 130 vehicles in our fleet. Of our 200 employees, 140 are drivers. Our company policy statement ‘Whatever it takes' is on view at all our locations reminding employees and customers of our intentions." As cars have become more complicated, and the technology has improved, the need for larger and more varied inventories has created the need for auto part suppliers to expand. Instant delivery to repair shops is an expectation, and is necessary to satisfy customers who cannot be without their cars for long. Individual part stores are finding it difficult to compete n if the repair shop cannot get the parts they need from one distributor, they will have no choice but to go elsewhere. This has caused a lot of individual stores to go out of business. P & A opened its first store in Maywood in 1982. In 2004, founder Anthony DePasque sold the business to current owners Joseph Cupoli and William Freedman. The growing organization has plans for additional store openings, with a goal of about 20 stores in total in the next six years. The West Milford store is managed by veteran P & A employee Ray Brandefine and a staff of seven, all of but one had been employees of LIHP.