Feel free to salute General Parts, distributor of replacement automotive parts, supplies, and tools for every make and model of foreign and domestic car, truck, bus, and farm or industrial vehicle. The firm operates the CARQUEST auto parts distribution network of some 40 distribution centers and owns about 1,400 of CARQUEST's 3,400 auto parts stores across the US, Canada, and Mexico. The company sells its parts to DIY mechanics, professional installers, body shops, farmers, and fleet owners; commercial customers account for most revenues. General Parts also operates CARQUEST Canada and WORLDPAC, which supplies replacement parts for imported brands. It was founded in 1961 by chairman and CEO O. Temple Sloan Jr.
Sloan established General Parts when he was 21 years old and still a student at Duke University. No bank in Raleigh, North Carolina, would lend to him, so his father, O.T. Sloan Sr. (also the president of discount chain Macks Stores), obtained the loan to help build General Parts' first distribution center. General Parts' sales grew quickly in the years that followed, and during the 1970s it launched the CARQUEST brand as a national marketing program for independent distributors. Through CARQUEST, General Parts expanded beyond the Carolinas in the 1980s and into Canada by the late '90s.
The company is about 35% owned by employees. General Parts rolled out its employee stock ownership program in the mid-1970s, and today it boasts more than 13,000 participants. – less