B & R Auto
The Art Of The Parts Chase
Terry Rasco, parts manager at B & R Auto Parts, said a TV show spot brought in new customers.
Chasing down the right part for that classic vehicle is all in a day’s work at B & R Auto Parts. They even proved it a couple of years ago when they appeared on an episode of CNBC’s television show “Car Chasers,” the show that finds any excuse to fix and flip a classic car. In the episode, the “Car Chasers” crew arrived at B & R Auto Parts in Lubbock, Texas, searching for an elusive part for a 1971 Firebird 400.
“They called us, saying they wanted to film an episode at one of the local salvage yards that was well-known in the area,” said B & R Auto Parts Manager Terry Rasco. “Now we’re a dismantling yard, and most everything is on racks. We don’t have a yard filled with cars; we dismantle everything. So they were able to show them looking through the racks for the window trim they wanted, and not finding it. Then our yard foreman Jimmy Hastings saved the day by finding some trim on a couple of old cars in the back.”
Rasco noted that for the 10 minutes or so that ultimately made it to the episode - which can be seen from a link on B & R Auto Parts’ website www.bandrautoparts.com - the crew had filmed a full day. “They came with a crew of 15 to 20 people,” he said. “They had five to six people running computers in the back, and downloading the footage immediately. There were two guys running laps up front, a cameraman and a director. They took over our warehouse.”
Some of the customers even stayed to watch. It became the talk of the town for weeks and months to come. “I had quite a few people come in and say, ‘We saw you on Car Chasers,’” said Terry. “I’m sure that we picked up a few customers as a result.”
Those new customers would be added to the loyal bunch supporting B & R Auto Parts since 1984 (and before that as an auto parts depot under another name since 1962). B & R started as a partnership between Terry’s dad, J.R. Rasco, and Ed Bayouth, who has since passed away. Terry officially joined the staff 32 years ago when his dad invited him to learn the business. Of course, Terry already knew a little something about auto recycling. He started “working” in the industry when he was just six or seven years old.
“My uncle owned a yard, and they had a Coke machine,” he remembered. “The customers would buy the Cokes, and then leave them around. We had 500 Coke bottles scattered everywhere. My uncle paid us a couple of cents a bottle to pick them up.”
When Terry was 13, his role evolved. “My dad gave me a wheelbarrow, and I bought my own set of tools,” he said. “I’d go through the yard, pulling air conditioner blower motors and wiper motors and they’d put them on the shelf.” At age 16, he bought his first car, a ’74 Mercury Montego, with his earnings - which were generously-matched by his dad.
By the time he joined B & R Auto Parts, Terry was an “old pro.” He takes great pride in the operation, from its setup to its dedicated staff of longstanding employees.
“We’ve got four acres, so being a dismantling yard helps us store more parts,” he said.
“I’m going through the inventory right now to drop prices,” he noted. “We have doors that we priced six to seven years ago. You have to keep prices current or you won’t sell them. That’s a big push that I’ve been on for the last two years.”
But B & R Auto Parts is not your typical used auto parts facility, acknowledged Terry. For one thing, there’s a repair shop onsite. “We carry rebuilt motors from AER and rebuilt transmissions from several vendors, and we have two full-time mechanics who install them for our customers. We also handle brake repairs and general maintenance.”
Head mechanic Buster Chambers has been with the business for over 20 years. Foreman Jimmy Hastings has been there 12 years. Terry prides himself on running B & R Auto Parts with a family atmosphere, which helps promote longevity among the 14 employees. “We try to do two to three things with the group,” he said. “We genuinely care about each other.”
That sense of caring also extends to the local community. “We always try to sponsor local organizations,” he said. “We put ads in the football programs, and support the Lion’s Club. We donate parts that they can put in their auctions. I’m the children’s minister for the First Baptist Church in Littlefield, and I’m part of CHUG’s Soul Train, a puppet show that travels to different churches.”
B & R Auto Part’s involvement in the community - coupled with its best practices - has led to some local acclaim. The business was named “Best Auto Parts and Supplies” by Lubbock’s Better Business Bureau. It has also made it to the semifinal round (as of press time) in KCBD News Channel 11 contest called “We love small business.” The local community voted on their favorites.
But it’s the caring at the counter that really makes the difference at B & R. “I’ve got the friendliest counter in town,” noted Terry. “Rey Lopez and Charles Moore work the counter, and so does my dad. These guys genuinely care when someone has a problem. We either try to fix their problem or find their part.”
“My dad taught me those people walking in the door are not your customers, they’re your friends,” said Terry. “You make friends of everyone who walks through that door, and you will always succeed.”