Spring 2010

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Locator UpFront


When Auto Parts City, Inc. relocated to its new location across the street, it was a major victory that was years in the making. The auto recycling facility had battled two municipalities, and many complaints, to get there.


After being just a blip on the screens of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ), Texas auto recycling finally gets its own identity.


The beginning of a new decade brought several changes to Sandhill Auto Salvage, located in Tama, Iowa. The most notable was the passing of the presidential torch from Joe Waterbury to his son, Mike Waterbury. After 40 years of owning Sandhill Auto Salvage, Joe decided it was time for retirement and sold the family business to his son Mike and Mitzi, Mike's wife. Mike's lifelong goal was to purchase the business from his father. With that goal now met, he has set many new goals in an effort to make Sandhill Auto Salvage the best it can be.


If there is a law affecting auto recyclers, chances are Eileen Sottile has read it, lobbied for it or helped kill it in committee. As vice president of government affairs for LKQ Corporation (LKQCorp.com), Sottile has been instrumental in shaping the fate of the auto recycling industry.


Just one year ago, the CARS program (aka Cash for Clunkers) was making headlines as a piece of proposed legislation. Now, the U.S. government-sponsored vehicle retirement program is over for consumers, but in full swing for auto recyclers. The CARS program took nearly 700,000 vehicles off the road. For many auto recyclers count down has begun for hundreds of vehicles that await the crusher. The vehicle must be crushed within 270 days after receipt from the dealer at the disposal facility (aka auto recycler).


Regardless of whether or not the economy is strong or weak, a bird in the hand has always been worth two in the bush. This proverb rings true especially for customer retention. You'll save money in the end if you create a plan to keep customers coming back. A loyal customer's spending accelerates over time and obtaining new customers is costly. In fact, it can cost between six and 30 times more to get a new customer than it does to keep the ones you have.


Jon Kaplan made Cleveland, Ohio history. His family business, Pearl Road Auto Wrecking & Salvage, Inc. (PearlRoadAutoParts.com), is the first business in the city with a wind turbine.


When the Robertses set out their Super Bowl spread in 2009, little did they guess they would miss much of their own party. But at 4 p.m. on Feb. 1, just as their pastor arrived with his family, the fateful call came in. "Our alarm company called," said Krystyn Roberts, co-owner of County Line Auto Parts (CountyLineAutoParts.com) in Kingsville, Mo. "They said there was a fire in the main warehouse."


On April 1, 2010, The Locator launched its new search engine, Part-Spot. The search feature went live as an enhancement to PartsLocator.com in January 2010, but became a stand-alone product at Part-Spot.com in April. Charis Lloyd, Locator executive vice president and Brian Jewell, Internet business manager, spent the last year developing Part-Spot as a way to bring new customers to the auto recycling industry and improve the experience of existing customers.


Thirty-one years ago, Ted Smith Jr. and his father, Ted Smith Sr. (now retired), thought an auto recycling business would be a nice investment. After a good friend, Glenn McElroy, former owner of Pick Your Part Auto Wrecking, Anaheim, Calif., gave them a lead on a one-acre, Wilmington facility, they bought it. Soon after the business incorporated, with McElroy becoming a partner, they added a second Wilmington facility.
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