Lordco Auto Parts Is The Largest Distributor & Retailer Of Automotive Parts And Accessories In British Columbia
Lordco Parts Ltd. was incorporated in August 1974 by its two founding members, Roy Lord and Ed Coates. A simple combination of their surnames gave the company its name, and they hired one employee to help them in their modest 900 square foot store in Maple Ridge, B.C.
From the beginning, the two shareholders agreed that success would only come through a diligent, common sense approach to selling automotive parts. Knowledgeable salespeople selling quality merchandise, backed by a commitment to service wouldn’t create instant success, but would give them a fighting chance to make it in the long run.
The formula would prove to be the right one. As the business gathered momentum, plans for the first expansion were developed. In 1976, a large site was purchased in Maple Ridge, and new, larger facilities were built. Today, it still houses the Corporate Head Office and Fleet Maintenance complex. To support its commitment to service, Lordco also purchased a local machine shop in order to offer more complete automotive solutions to its customers.
Next came expansion to Mission, B.C., and before the decade was over, Lordco had become a major supplier of automotive parts on the north side of the Fraser River. The plan remained to grow at a controlled rate, and the two owners continued to reinvest their profits in order to strengthen the company.
In the early 1980’s, the economy took a turn for the worse and the owners found themselves under increasing financial pressure, eventually resulting in Ed Coates buying out his partner. The months and years that followed provided a stern test of the owner’s resolve, but the company stubbornly held to its principles and weathered the storm.
The expansion plan was back on track by 1984. A small store in Agassiz opened under the Lordco banner that year and would be the first leased location on the Lordco roster. As the economy recovered, Lordco parts were in high demand. Expansion was no longer a possibility, but a requirement to meet the needs of its customers.
The strategic plan that was developed called for expansion and consolidation of the Company’s market share throughout B.C.’s Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. Ed Coates was determined that expansion would not cause the Company to lose touch with its faithful customer base.
Lordco store opens in Port Coquitlam.
Lordco stores open in Abbotsford and Hope.
Lordco stores open in Langley and Aldergrove. As well, another machine shop was opened in Langley to meet the demands of customers on the south side of the Fraser River.
In the 1990’s, expansion continued, and accelerated. Highlights included the acquisition of its warehouse distributor, Norm Fieldgate Ltd. and institution of centralized warehousing for all Lordco stores in 1990. This dramatically increased Lordco’s buying power, giving the Company a decided competitive advantage over the independents in the industry.
Throughout the 1990’s, new expansion sites were carefully located in key centres, in order to take full advantage of their proximity to existing and new clientele. But expansion also included a number of acquisitions of smaller independents. This was the case when Ed Coates first broke from traditional strategy to purchase stores in Trail and Castlegar in 1993. Success in the Kootenay region of B.C. opened new vistas of possibility for Lordco.
In 1994, Lordco purchased the assets of Cal-Van Auto Supply and immediately became a major player in the distribution of High Performance auto parts. Three of Cal-Van’s stores were retained and reopened under the Lordco banner in mid-1994.
Lordco store opens in Squamish.
In 1996, Lordco broke into the Okanagan market with the purchase of a store in Kelowna.
In 1997, a large store was opened in the heart of Victoria.
The latter half of the 1990’s was a period of unprecedented growth for Lordco. The company’s corporate identity was solidified with the introduction of a new and distinctive corporate logo and standardization of its store designs, and its Construction Dept. has been perpetually consumed with building new locations, and expanding and renovating existing ones. In the fall of 1998, a new era was ushered in with the unveiling of Lordco’s first “superstore” in Langley, B.C.
In the Lower Mainland, new stores have been positioned to support and enhance our existing facilities, many of which have been updated or relocated to raise the company’s profile in the communities it serves. In other areas of the province, expansion has been necessitated by increasing demand for Lordco’s superior parts and service. Moving into its fourth decade of operations, Lordco now owns and operates 80 retail/wholesale stores throughout British Columbia, along with three full service machine shops. All outlets are on-line to a sophisticated sales and inventory computer system that ensures consistent pricing at all branches, same day availability and consistent customer satisfaction.
Impressive growth has brought with it new concerns. Lordco’s parts distribution system has undergone considerable increases in sophistication as the company wrestles with the logistical problems of supplying its merchandise to such a widespread and geographically diverse province. Warehousing can no longer be efficiently supplied from one central location so in response, remote warehousing locations have been developed. Since 2001, bright new facilities have been located in the Lower Mainland, in Prince George to serve the North, in Kelowna (Okanagan) and in Parksville (Vancouver Island). As well, Cranbrook’s store was doubled in size to provide warehouse facilities to the Kootenays.
Lordco presently stocks over 360,000 part numbers in our system, including a full line of automotive parts and supplies, a complete line of auto body supplies, high performance parts and accessories, industrial and welding supplies, and a complete line of garage equipment and professional tools.
From its humble beginnings, Lordco has grown to become the largest, privately held automotive parts distributor in Canada. We currently employ about 1,500 people, including 80 outside sales representatives. The delivery fleet currently consists of more than 400 vehicles from small parts delivery cars and trucks, up to five ton vans and 18-wheel semi trailers that are responsible for replenishing store inventory around the province daily.
Lordco’s mission is to provide our valued customers with the highest level of service possible. We strive to structure our sales programs to suit the individual needs of every customer. With our specialized service, combined with providing quality technical clinics and sales support, we feel we offer all the tools necessary to support our customers’ businesses. Our commitment remains to sell only the highest quality name brand products that customers recognize and feel confident installing into their own, or into their customers vehicles.