A new electrical parts store is operating on four wheels.
K & N Mobile Distribution Systems offers electrical parts used by manufacturers and repair companies inside a mobile showroom, housed within a Dodge truck that travels to customers to sell and deliver products.
“The mechanics love it because when they’re out of something they don’t have to go to the store to pick it up,” said franchisee Paul Garrett, who started K & N in late March. “I’m right there on the spot. They save time and fuel.”
Garrett, who spent 14 years at Bridgestone as a shift supervisor, said he guarantees that service will be provided within 24 hours, if not that same day.
K & N Mobile Distribution, based out of Fort Worth, Texas, started in 1972 and has 15 franchises across the U.S.
The mobile store carries electrical terminals, connectors, fasteners, wire, cables, brass fittings and similar parts.
The business mainly caters to companies that manufacture or repair machinery, equipment and automobiles but also sells to military bases and local government agencies that maintain their own transportation and equipment fleets.
When a customer needs a part, Garrett drives his truck to the customer and opens the back doors to the 22-foot-long showroom.
“We have everything labeled, and we have racks on the shelves,” Garrett said. “You just go in and pick up your items off the shelf.”
The truck also is equipped with a computer that can print invoices and keep track of the truck’s parts inventory based on the sales volume.
In his first month of business, Garrett said, he primarily has assisted trucking maintenance companies, heavy equipment rental and sales stores and auto mechanic shops.
He hopes to soon expand his service to include local textile and industrial plants.
Garrett said he had looked into opening his own business for five years but worried about leaving a stable source of income for something unpredictable.
“I wanted something I could start that wouldn’t cost all of my life savings to get into, and then it may not pan out,” he said.
The right time presented itself, though, after Garrett left Bridgestone in November. He found the franchise appealing, in part, because there aren’t any other local business models like his in operation.