Five J's Auto Parts, Inc.
When Ronald McCulloch Sr. ran a successful New Mexico car crushing operation, he saw too many valuable parts go straight to the crusher. So he decided to become an auto recycler.
“We didn’t know too much about the business,” admitted Kathleen McCulloch, Ronald Sr.’s wife and co-owner of Five J’s Auto Parts, Inc., Albuquerque, N.M. “So we worked hard to learn about it. We installed the hot line, read the Hollander book cover to cover and wrote down everything on card files.”
At the time, the business was just a trailer on an acre-and-a-half. It would soon need room to expand.
“We found eight acres in the South Valley and moved in 1979,” said Kathleen. “That’s where we worked and built up our business.”
Rite Of Passage
The business, Five J’s Auto Parts, has employed every one of the McCulloch’s seven children. It is named after the five McCulloch boys: Ronald Joseph Jr., Donald Jude, Christopher John, Kenneth James and Brian Justin. There are also two daughters, Lynn Marie Anaya and Kathryn Renee Kristensen.
Today, Kenneth, Ronald Jr. and Anaya are all that remains at the original business. Christopher bought his own facility, Downtown Imports, in Albuquerque, and Donald bought the Five J’s Auto Parts Pueblo, Colo. location in 2008.
Used To New
Five J’s Auto Parts specializes in late-model domestic vehicles. It sells a variety of new aftermarket parts like wheels, taillights and door handles. Customers are almost evenly divided between retail walk-in traffic and wholesale clients.
All parts have a no-fuss return policy. Local delivery is available twice a day within the metropolitan area plus parts are shipped nationwide. The Internet has opened up a larger market but repeat customers are the foundation of the business.
“I think what brings people back is our customer service,” explained Ronald Jr. “We’re established. We have three countermen who know what they’re doing. We stand behind our parts and our warranties. We treat people how we’d like to be treated.”
The business treats its employees well and it shows. Anthony Campos, head counterperson, has been there for 25 years. Jon Iraid, dismantler and Sid Gonzales, inventory and delivery, have been employed 15 years each.
It’s through the McCulloch’s involvement in auto recycling associations that Five J’s Auto Parts has been able to stay at the forefront of the industry. For example, it was among the first in Albuquerque to computerize.
“My husband was chairman of the ARA regional directors for two terms,” explained Kathleen. “Under his leadership, they made 43 changes in the organization, some of which are still standing. All of us, with the exception of Ronald Jr. who served as a director at the local level, have served as president of the state association [NMARA]. I was secretary for years. We got involved from the very beginning because we thought it was important to learn as much as we could.”
But perhaps more important than knowledge is the passion that each member of the McCulloch family has for the business.
“My dad used to take me out and we’d work together on cars,” said Kathleen. “What I love about this business is that it’s so interesting. You never know what’s going to happen.”
Though semi-retired, Kathleen and Ronald Sr. enjoy working with their children when needed. “We look forward to having them carry on this wonderful family tradition.”
Owners: Ronald Sr. & Kathleen McCulloch
Location: Albuquerque, N.M.
Years In Business: 33