Arnold Motor taps collision market
Spencer, Iowa—E.P. Arnold saw a vision of the future in the automobile parts industry. As he watched the popularity of automobiles increase, he knew that there would be a market and a need for replacement parts. With very little knowledge about cars, Arnold built a storage box for the back of a 1927 Chevrolet and had some mechanic friends help him select about $65 worth of parts that local garages may need. With just $300 in savings and a $200 loan, the company was born in 1927.
From humble beginnings in the back of a truck, a series of events, purchases, and acquisitions would transform Arnold Motor Supply into a powerhouse in the automotive parts industry.
Today the company has grown to include 56 parts stores in five states, two parts distribution centers located in Spencer, Iowa and Omaha, Neb., 19 full-service machine shops, and a state-of-the-art training facility. They are also a member of Aftermarket Automotive Parts Alliance which includes member warehouses and stores across North America. This allows the company to offer nationwide warranties which are honored at any Auto Value or Bumper to Bumper store.
The company staffs over 200 delivery drivers, 175 counter professionals, 70 sales professionals, 50 distribution team members along with leadership and management staff.
There are currently seven entities that operate under the Arnold Motor Supply umbrella. They include Arnold Motor Supply, Auto Value Parts Stores, Industrial Paint Solutions, Auto Refinish Solutions, Midwest Cylinder Head and Machine, Specialty Sales of Omaha, and The Merrill Company.
“We want people to know that their local Arnold Motor Supply can handle calls for any of their automotive parts, supplies, and service needs. That includes machine shop services, refinishing products, and collision parts for body shop customers,” said Elizabeth McDanel, Marketing Director
Adjusting inventory for market needs
Arnold Motor Supply has long been known to offer high-quality automotive parts at a competitive price through their proprietary brands such as Parts Master, PerfectStop and Perfect View wiper blades. “When you buy these lines from us you are getting OE quality products backed by brands such as a WIX and Bosch.” Said Luanne Todd, Marketing Manager.
McDanel added that they are constantly tweaking their inventory and bringing in new lines and sku’s to fit the demands of the market.
To keep up with the ever-changing inventory and fluctuating market trends, Todd said they implemented a tracking system several years back to help with inventory. “We barcode and scan throughout the distribution channel from receiving to picking and packing to point of sale. It has been one of the best things we have ever done. The parts can be tracked all the way to the customer.”
Focus on collision offerings
“We want body shops that used to call us strictly for hard parts to know that we can be a one-call solution for a complete collision repair. We’re ‘Your total repair partner,’” McDanel said.
We are your go-to for the equipment, tools, collision assemblies and hard parts necessary to get customers’ vehicle back on the road. We offer products from brands like Global Finishing Solutions paint and prep booths, Chief, Innovative Tools, SATA, 3M, PPG, BASF, AkzoNobel and more.”, McDanel added.
Training for automotive and body shop customers
Training is also available for automotive repair and body shop technicians. “We have put on some great training for our customers throughout the years but we also want body shops to know that we can come to their shop for estimating workshops, set up lunch-and-learns with a vendor and your employees, and even bring you over to our training facility to learn more about what is new in the industry,” McDanel said.
Arnold Motor Supply attributes most of their success to the quality of their employees and the relationships they create with customers. When E.P. Arnold started expanding, he believed that people would work harder as owners rather than just being employees. Many of his original formulas are still in use today. His philosophy is reflected in his statement, “You build a business with people, not with buildings of brick and stone.”
That sentiment stands strong today, Todd said.
“We want our customers to know that our team members are all experts in their field. We only hire the best and we keep the best here. Everybody offers auto parts but we put relationships first.”
Arnold Motor Supply has been named one of the Top Workplaces in Iowa for five years running. The 2018 Top Workplaces, sponsored by the Des Moines Register, ranked Arnold Motor Supply in the top 50 for midsized companies.
“To be recognized as a top workplace for the fifth year in a row is truly special,” said managing partner, Dennis Spooner. “I could talk all day long about how special this company is, but this is all about our associates and them knowing it as well.”