Logel's Auto Parts
Working at Logel's Auto Parts in Kitchener, Ontario is the only job owner John Logel Jr. has ever had. "I've been here forever," he joked. "I've done every job there is in this place, from accounting to answering phones to pulling parts."
Now at 29, he's at the helm of his family business. John Jr. purchased it in 2007 from his father, John Logel Sr. His grandfather, Clarence Logel, started the business in 1959. Back then, it was a scrap yard.
"In 1980, my father took over and joined ARA," said John Jr. "He saw how other facilities ran their yards and he used those ideas to transform Logel's Auto Parts from a typical scrap yard to a late-model recycler."
Clarence and John Sr. are no longer part of the day-to-day business, but their insight remains.
"Within the first couple months of taking over the business, I went back to what built the company," John Jr. explained. "I started bringing in end-of-life vehicles and processing them for scrap metal. I'm also still doing auction purchases. Together, we average 2,000 vehicles, 1,000 for scrap and 1,000 for parts, annually."
Logel's Auto Parts specializes in late-model vehicles and light trucks, everything from Mercedes-Benz to Kia. It has an extensive selection of aftermarket parts (an estimated 10,000) and new OEM parts. The business also offers one-year and five-year parts-and-labor warranties.
"We base our inventory on what historically sells," explained John Jr. "We don't have the extra room here to buy a car and store it. We have to turn product over every 90 to 120 days."
Logel's Auto Parts sells to a customer mix made up of 60 percent auto recyclers, 30 percent body shops and garages, and 10 percent retail walk-in. It claims to offer perhaps the fastest delivery in town.
"If you order the part and we have it here on the shelf, we'll have it to your door in an hour if you're in town," said John Jr.
The business has four trucks which deliver free of charge in a radius of about 35 kilometers or 21 miles. It also ships worldwide using a variety of companies from Purolator to UPS.
"We've been averaging a 10 percent increase in sales each month from previous years," reported John Jr.
It hasn't been an easy ride though. In 1997, a fire destroyed the building and much of the inventory.
"It was February but we started working outside," remembered John Jr. "My father installed phones on the fences. But we [lost our] computer system. We had to call other recyclers in the area that had our inventory [listed] to find out if we had a part."
Within two days, Logel's Auto Parts was up and running in trailers with computers. Soon after, a state-of-the-art facility was complete with a modern sales office, dismantling bays, inventory office, shipping department and a 10,000-square-foot warehouse.
John Jr. is always interested in how to improve business. "That's why we attend OARA," he said. "They have classes and you do learn a lot, but you learn more when you're networking. I always go home with new ideas." According to John Jr., those ideas will be fundamental to continued success at Logel's Auto Parts.
"We're continually changing the way we look at our business. Setting goals is great but sometimes by the time you get to a long-term goal, things have changed. Every day we're setting different goals and those small achievements add up. We have a constant drive to be better."
Owners: John Logel Jr.
Location: Kitchener, Ontario
Years In Business: 51
Number of Employees: 19