In the July 2023 issue of AMN/Counterman, we gave leaders from the major distribution groups and trade associations an opportunity to reflect on the most critical issues affecting the automotive aftermarket. For the second year in a row, we let distribution leaders “riff” on these topics in their own words.
Here’s what Sanjay Patel, president of Carquest North America, had to say on the subjects of collaboration and growth opportunities.
Carquest is built around an unrivaled passion for the customer and dedication to serving communities. As a support team, when you look at our role as a trusted advisor and business ally for our store partners, collaboration is of the utmost importance.
We have an incredibly diverse business. Our store partners serve DIYers and professional shops, and many support local farmers with heavy machinery and agricultural needs. With this variety of customers, it’s important that we collaborate, share information and understand what works best for our store partners.
We host quarterly meetings with our independent advisory council, two of them each year in person. This is a diverse group of store partners from across the country serving markets large and small. Through these meetings, we’re able to understand what drives their business and what they need from us to succeed. We’re able to learn from their best practices, and share what we’ve learned from the company side that can be a positive for their business.
Our brand also is committed to creating growth opportunities for members of the Carquest family. One example is our second-annual Women of Carquest event taking place this September, where many of our outstanding female independent owners, managers and team members will connect with each other and our company leaders for sessions on networking, leadership and career growth. Plus, they’re able to build and strengthen relationships among each other, so they can learn new ways to grow their business.
Community involvement has been a shared focus for Carquest and our store partners. Last year, we asked our independent store partners about the causes that resonated with them and their customers. The resounding answer was supporting members of the military, veterans and their families. With that in mind, we aligned with Hire Heroes USA, a nonprofit dedicated to finding meaningful employment and career guidance for military veterans entering the workforce.
We have a tremendous amount of owned assets available for our owners to better entrench their businesses with their customers. More owners are leveraging Carquest Technical Institute and Worldpac Training Institute to hold in-person training events for their customers at Carquest store locations. As EVs, hybrids, ADAS and other emerging technologies become more prominent, these training opportunities help store partners and their customers enhance their rapport and further their knowledge of today’s vehicles.
I believe collaboration is at its purest form when we’re in the field. I recently had the privilege of joining our Carquest field leaders in Nebraska, where we put more than 1,300 miles on a rental car visiting independent owners. Spending time in market and seeing how the magic happens alongside our store partners is motivating. It gets me excited about the present and future of our Carquest brand.
Carquest Auto Parts
- Founded: 1974
- Headquarters: Raleigh, North Carolina
- Number of distribution centers: 27 Carquest (U.S.) distribution centers
- Number of parts stores: 1,315 independently owned Carquest (U.S.) stores
- Website: www.carquest.com