By Roz Kohls
COKATO, MN Big changes have been happening quietly at Parts City Auto Parts of Cokato. Not only did the store at Highway 12 W., Cokato, become affiliated with O’Reilly Auto Parts, the store expanded both its wholesale and retail departments.
Previously, the store was called Bumper to Bumper, part of a chain of about 200 stores nationwide, according to Parts City manager Jake Kotila.
In the spring, the store was changed to Parts City Auto Parts, making it part of the O’Reilly chain of 2,500 stores across the country, he said. The store’s servicing warehouse is based in Brooklyn Park, Kotila added.
It’s been an “across-the-board change,” he said.
Not only does O’Reilly have excellent marketing tools, its buying power will allow the Cokato store to pay less for parts and pass on those savings to its customers, he said.
“The support and service is so much better,” Kotila added.
Kotila, who started at the store in 2001 as a delivery and stock boy, right out of Dassel-Cokato High School, said Parts City supplies both retail and wholesale.
The west side of the store expanded 3,000 square feet to the west, in what was previously a flooring store warehouse. The expansion contains hard parts inventory, Kotila said.
If an auto repair shop or garage needs a particular part, Parts City’s eight employees will be able to retrieve it for them. Parts City services wholesale customers for 15 miles around Cokato, said Kotila, who lives in Stockholm Township.
Cokato’s Parts City is the only PPG Industries paint supplier in the area, Kotila said.
The original building on the east side was redesigned and reorganized into a retail showroom, so customers will find it easier to locate items and have better selection.
“Our store has expanded to accommodate the do-it-yourselfer,” Kotila said.