All Star Auto Lights
Mark Immerfall is continually on the lookout for lights. He buys lights from body shops across the country and through core buyers. That's because his business, All Star Auto Lights, headquartered in Westland, Mich. only sells OEM lights.
"We do all lighting," said Immerfall. "We do headlights, taillights, parklights and foglights. That's what makes us unique. The insurance companies like that with us."
All Star Auto Lights sells both new and used OEM lights for foreign and domestic vehicles. It even sells the new halo lights for vehicles like Mercedes-Benz and BMW. It ships its products across the United States by Fed Ex.
"I like that we can ship and not have to deliver," Immerfall stated. "It keeps the cost down. You don't have to have as many trucks or employees. It's more efficient."
Immerfall opened All Star Auto Lights in 2005, but he's been in the auto recycling industry for more than 30 years. Immerfall managed his previous in-laws' facility and then bought his own in 1996. A couple years later, he turned his focus to OEM lights.
"It started with a guy who came in and sold lights on the side," Immerfall remembered. "I bought from him and a year later he was coming every week with a truck load. I thought … 'Why am I not doing this?' I continued to buy his and also started purchasing lights myself."
The light business grew and now has four locations. The Lawrenceburg, Tenn. location opened in 2007 and is managed by Immerfall's brother-in-law, Keith Taylor. The Orlando, Fla. location opened in 2009 and is ran by Immerfall's son, Matt Immerfall. The Riverside, Calif. location opened in 2011 and is managed by Steve Gutierrez. Plans are underway to open two more locations, in New Jersey and Texas, in the near future.
All four locations are independently owned, but run off the same principles, similar to a franchise. They also work together to give customers access to more than 50,000 lights in-stock. And while the business uses Car-Part.com, that doesn't allow customers to see the inventory from all four locations at once.
"We swap out between us," explained Immerfall. "Customers need to actually call so I can tell them what I have at the other locations.
"We would love to have it set up where you could go online and buy the light, but the inventory changes daily so it's hard to do that."
On A Roll
Immerfall said he mostly deals with insurance companies and credits a booth at the 2008 NACE show for giving his business that boost.
"Now we're in with all major insurance companies," he declared. "Insurance companies like delivery in two days, that's why we are opening a Texas location."
He subsequently returns to NACE every year and is also gearing up for the 35th annual NORTHEAST™ Automotive Services Show at the Meadowlands (AASPNJ.org) on March 9 - 11, 2012 in Secaucus, N.J.
While All Star Auto Lights continues to improve sales year after year, Immerfall is looking to phase out his part within the next five. He hopes to retire and leave the business in his sons' hands (a second son works with him at the Michigan location). But, he's never regretted moving beyond auto recycling to selling only lights.
"I like the idea that's not like a salvage yard where there are so many products to sell," stated Immerfall. "We're able to do one thing and do it right.
"We're basically the LKQ of lights. We found our niche and that's what we do. We have a quality product."
Owner: Mark Immerfall
Location: Westland, Mich.
Years In Business: 7
Number of Employees: 12