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Joe Marconi

Update: Advance Auto Parts Meeting

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I was among a handful of shop owners yesterday, March 14, who attended a meeting with BWP/CARQUEST and Advance Auto Parts. As we all know, Advance Auto Parts has purchased BWP/CARQUEST in the North East.

 

I can tell you when I first heard the news back in December, I was stunned. My prior perception of Advance was not good. To me, Advance was a company dedicated to the DIY market, a retailer who had no understanding of the aftermarket independent repair shops. The shops in my area have a strong relationship with the Stockel family (owners of BWP/CARQUEST), and even though Advance has two stores in our area, shops did not buy from them, always remaining loyal to CARQUEST.

 

Well, after sitting in on the meeting yesterday, I can tell you that Advance is committed to making changes that will have a positive impact on our industry. They are willing to sit down and listen to us. Advance has been working on programs and information systems that will rival other companies and are a huge benefit to independent shops.

 

Advance understands where the market is going, and it’s not the back yard weekend warrior. I did voice my reasons why I had a negative perception: Free check engine light scans at the store, free battery installations in the parking lot, free battery and alternator testing, etc. However, they were very open and wanted to know exactly what it was about their current marketing and advertising that upsets shop owners.

 

I walked out the meeting feeling a lot better than when I walked in. I was impressed by the people from Advance and their willingness to listen and help us. In the coming months Advance will be working with shops and bringing to the aftermarket many exciting programs. I also have a strong feeling that Advance will change their marketing and put more focus on building bridges with independent shops owners and tear down some of the walls that were constructed from prior ad campaigns.

 

Perhaps the key to all this rests in knowing that the Stockels, (owners of BWP) are staying on for a period of time working through this transition and integration period. There is a strong feeling that the culture of relationships will remain intact, making this a powerful alliance and one that will greatly benefit the aftermarket.

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