Barton Auto Parts
This year, Barton Auto Parts, Hamilton-based will celebrate 60 successful and growing years in the auto parts Industry. Stephen Krieger, Owner and President of Barton Auto Parts, proudly carries on the tradition of service excellence and product quality started by his grandfather in 1952.
Thomas Krieger, Stephen’s grandfather, launched his own auto parts firm after gaining experience working for the competition. However, six months after the launch, he suffered a sudden stroke, forcing his son, Stephen’s father Morton Krieger, into the family business at the age of 15. At that time, the company dealt mostly with automotive production firms, industry clients such as Stelco, and major car fleets. The business was built from its original location on Barton Street, and subsequently migrating to Cannon Street, where the company’s hub remains to this day.
By refusing to maintain the status quo, and by constantly being aware of the marketplace’s ever shifting needs and preferences, Kreiger has kept Barton ahead of the competition into its 7th decade in business.
Krieger operates the extremely fast paced business, which currently has four locations — three in Hamilton, and an additional operation in Stoney Creek.
Barton Auto Parts has over 60 dedicated and knowledgeable employees and a client list reaching well into the thousands. The business is made up of five major service categories: automotive aftermarket, industrial supplies, tools and equipment, heavy duty truck parts, and foreign nameplate.
The company’s primary business is the sale of aftermarket automotive parts. Within this business segment Barton deals with repair shops of all sizes, major fleets, dealerships, municipalities and national accounts such as, Midas, Speedy, Canadian Tire, etc. Krieger differentiates his firm from other auto parts players in the area by focusing not just on the usual products but in offering specialty import products as well, therefore meeting the needs of over 71 per cent of vehicles on the road. Barton offers new Foreign Nameplate Products, Beck Arnley, Mann, Hummel, Akebono, Kelsey Hayes, Conti-Belts, and many more.
Barton Auto Parts has also been a member of Uni-Select Canada for 23 years. Uni-Select Canada is a North American buying group, which also trades on TSX (Trading Symbols: UNS/UNS.DB). Originally founded in 1968 thanks to the vision of 12 businessmen who decided to join forces to form a purchasing group for automotive aftermarket parts, Uni-Select forms one of the largest networks of independent wholesalers of automotive parts and related accessories. It has more than 3,500 wholesalers under its banner, owns over 460 corporate stores and serves more than 30,000 installers and body shops throughout North America. Through its unique partnership with Uni-Select, Barton continues to solidify its reputation, providing the best parts and warranties for its clients.
Barton Auto Parts strives to provide its clients with high value, and the company philosophy focuses on providing clients with national brands that come with attached warranties as well as value-added services. “We provide quality, high-end parts with quality warranties,” says Krieger. “We also offer our clients SAX [Service Auto Expert] loyalty rewards program. This program provides our customers with loyalty rewards for parts purchases, and also a quality assurance program which guarantees that the quality of our parts lives up to the standards of today’s technicians.”
Barton Auto Parts strives to stay ahead of its competition by forging long-term relationships with its clients. “We are all about business partnerships,” says Krieger. “To satisfy our clients’ needs, we stay on top of the latest developments in the industry and the latest client service technologies. We offer 24/7 online parts ordering service, as well as ongoing training programs for our clients to train their technicians, fleets and employees. We also offer classes on car theory and best practices courses for technicians to keep up-to-date with the latest automotive standards. We have a full SAX Training schedule for the year on topics such as Computer Controlled Starting and Charging Systems, All Wheel Drive, Supercharge and Turbocharge — anything that our clients are facing in the automotive aftermarket today.”
Besides offering automotive classes, including online and in-class courses for technicians, Krieger has branched out into providing automotive business owners training on how to improve their business efficiencies. “We also have business focus groups – peer network groups – where business owners can assess where they stand in regards to performance and service.” These added value services are integral in ensuring Barton keeps its competitive advantage, and Krieger continually seeks out new ways to add value for his clients and business partners.
Asked to reflect on the aftermarket industry since the 2008 recession that significantly affected the automotive industry, Krieger said, “We have been hit by the recession due to the incentives from the automotive industry offered by the car dealers. During this period, the leasing and financing rates had been at the all-time low, and the warranties on the vehicles had been extending continuously thanks to the quality workmanship. Due to these reasons the automotive aftermarket has changed its focus to providing preventive maintenance services. Besides, with the incentives on the new cars, we have more and more vehicles on our roads, which will eventually become our customers as well.”
Barton Auto Parts understands what it takes to remain competitive in the automotive aftermarket and the company continues to grow its operational processes, efficiencies, and exceptional client service. “We strive to continuously increase our service levels. We make sure that each of our employees knows their role within the company, and that each employee excels in their job, providing a service according to the values of Barton Auto Parts. While increasing our service levels has always been our focus, it has never been more important in the industry, because the clients’ continue to expect this level of service,” says Krieger.
With 60 years of established and growing presence in the automotive aftermarket, Krieger maintains the importance of providing exceptional, value-added service, quality products, and industry know-how. Expect this Canadian success story to continue, as Barton plans to remain the go-to place that provides quality parts and unmatched service for its clients in years to come.