Spit & Polish
IT Show Host Puts On The Dog
Greg LaPoint is ready to put his facility, LaPoint Discount Auto Parts in Holland, Ohio, on display at the upcoming IT show.
PHOTO: STEVEN GARNER
The 2010 IT show hadn't quite ended when owner Greg LaPoint approached the event's organizer, Bill Weaver, and offered his facility, LaPoint Discount Auto Parts in Holland, Ohio, for a future show.
"It was my second IT show and was a lot of fun," said LaPoint. "I thought, 'My yard's big enough. I'd like to bring everyone out to see it.'"
With a 48,000-square-foot building and 28 acres of land, LaPoint Discount Auto Parts can easily accommodate the 1,000 people Weaver, founder of the IT - Auto Recyclers Reunion & Review (MeetUsAtIT.com), expects for the May 13 show.
"We chose LaPoint Discount Auto Parts for the 2011 show because it's a beautiful facility that's in a location of the country we haven't really covered before," Weaver explained.
LaPoint himself has only been in the auto recycling industry since 1997, but in that short time, he has become a success. He initially started as a body man. He went to auto body school, worked for shops around town and then owned his own business for seven years. In 1997, he found an auto recycling facility for sale and decided to switch industries.
"I just shot from the hip and did it," he admitted. "I bought a Hollander system. They came in and trained me for three days and then I was on my own."
After three years, and a lot of hard work, the business was large enough to buy its closest competitor, Dave's Auto Parts, which was only five miles away. LaPoint moved the operations into Dave's Auto Parts and slowly started to phase out the original location - he sold off the last of the inventory just a couple years ago. LaPoint attributes his success to timing.
"Everything just fell into place," he expained. "I knew what my customers wanted and I took right off. I think my customers were fed up with the same old routine of being over-promised and under-delivered. And then I came in and started to deliver what people expected."
LaPoint Discount Auto Parts (LaPointAuto.com) specializes in vehicles 9 years old or newer. Its clientele is mostly wholesale which includes both repair shops and auto dealerships.
"We used to advertise as the cleanest salvage yard in northwest Ohio," he acknowledged.
Walk-in customers can check out an impressive, personal collection of restored, classic vehicles LaPoint has on display in a showroom at the facility.
"In 1996 I built a 1965 AC Cobra from a kit," said LaPoint. "My goal is to have one of every [type of] muscle car."
Aside from the AC Cobra, LaPoint restored every vehicle in his 19-vehicle collection. His personal favorite is a 1970 Mercury Cougar Eliminator. His collection also includes racecars, motorcycles and even an airplane.
"It is a chance for us to show off our facility," added LaPoint. "We work very hard to have a clean and safe environment."
"We're cleaning and polishing everything," said employee Art Ingmire. "There is plenty of room and plenty of parking. We'll also have a shuttle to take people back and forth. We want to make everyone feel welcome."