Parts store reopens with new identity

Paul?s Auto Supply?s reopening Feb. 24 marked the change from being a Big A auto parts to being an outlet for CarQuest.

The change has been a gradual one, according to Paul Pankratz, owner. He said it began about a year ago, but was not completed until December.

The change came about when CarQuest bought out Big A. Because Pankratz runs an independent business, he could have switched to any company.

Pankratz said he looked at six to eight options and determined CarQuest would give him the best service and price.

Pankratz saw several advantages with CarQuest. He said their warehouse is a lot bigger so more parts are readily available.

?I am hoping we won?t have to hunt for so many parts,? Pankratz said.

He had to go to different warehouses quite often to find parts, which took more time and added shipping costs.

With the additional parts and lines comes the availability of more price lines. Pankratz said this allows his customers to buy something less expensive than the premium.

?There are a lot of customers looking for price and comparing prices,? he said. ?Daily customers are surprised on the prices and discounts they get.?

Pankratz is hoping the wider range in prices will keep some of the people in town who otherwise go out of town for supplies.

For a number of parts, the only change will be adding the name CarQuest to the box. Things like belts and filters will still come from the same company.

With the new supplier came a few changes. ?Whenever you take and change over, there are some bugs to fix,? Pankratz said.

The main change was the new computer system Pankratz and his staff have had to learn.

Pankratz said they just have begun to get to know the people at CarQuest.

?There is a lot of good people there and we?ve just barely tapped them,? Pankratz said.

He said they should be able to help them with finding parts and other questions they may have.

Change is not new to Pankratz, but he has not made such a big change before. ?There is always gradual change,? he said. ?The automobiles have changed so much over the years.?

Since starting the business in 1965, their inventory has continued to change with technology, but this is the first time Pankratz has changed suppliers.

?From CarQuest?s standpoint, it is a pleasure to do business with a long-standing customer like Paul,? Richard Riddell, distribution center sales manager in Kansas City, said. ?As an independent business he had a chance to choose who to go with and we are pleased he chose CarQuest.?

As part of the re-opening, Paul?s Auto Supply was celebrating its 35th birthday. During the celebration, four balloons were released. The balloons had tags on them that would entitle the finder to a free coffee mug.

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