Construction begins on new O’Reilly Auto Parts

Published 10:02 am Monday, May 11, 2015

Dowagiac motorists will soon have another place to purchase the crucial components that power their vehicles.

Construction has begun on a new O’Reilly Auto Parts store, located next to Honor Credit Union and Heartland Auto Sales on M-51. Crews officially broke ground late last month, with the expectation of having the store built and ready for customers by the end of August, said Project Manager Sheldon Jennings.

The completed building will be approximately 7,000 square feet, and will be laid out like most other O’Reilly stores, with a 3,000 square foot showroom, a 3,500 square foot warehouse for automotive parts, and the remaining area used for offices, Jennings said.

The store will house more than 22,000 different caps, batteries, plugs and other automotive components for vehicles from every major manufacturer, compatible with models from this year all the way back to the 1940s. The store products will be delivered from the stockpile of 130,000 parts at their distribution center in Chicago, said O’Reilly spokesman Mark Merz.

“If you are a do-it-your-self customer, we will have everything you’ll need to work on your car from home,” Merz said. “For professionals, we will have our system and expertise is in place to help those customers as well.”

O’Reilly Auto Parts has been in business since 1957, with their first store being built in Springfield, Missouri. Today, the company operates more than 4,100 different locations across 43 states, including Alaska and Hawaii.

The Midwest, particularly the southwest Michigan and northern Indiana area, has generated strong sales for the company, Merz said. With the closest locations from Dowagiac being in South Bend, St. Joseph and Benton Harbor, the city was a great fit for their newest store in the area.

“We’re always looking at different markets that are growing, thriving, and seem to have a need,” Merz said.

The company will hire between eight and 12 full and part-time employees to work at the store, Merz said.

With auto part dealers such as AutoZone and Chet Nichols right nearby and NAPA/Ridge Auto Parts just over a mile away, the new O’Reilly store faces stiff competition. A combination of strong customer service and catering toward casual and professional motorists is what separates their store from others, Merz said.

“If you haven’t shopped here before, come give us a try,” he said. “You’ll see the difference immediately.”