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Meet Chip Mitchell of Indy Auto and Northeast Arm

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chip Mitchell.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Chip. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
As a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, I was well aware that all success in life stems for a lot of hard work. After a stint in the USMC 1977-1981 I utilized the GI Bill to become educated in Business via a BS/BA in business from Merrimack College in North Andover Massachusetts. My automotive training in the Marine Corps coupled with my degree made me decide to enter the automotive aftermarket industry. While finishing college I ran several large retail stores for the former ADAP chain which is now owned by AutoZone. The numbers I recorded at each of these stores over two years was a great assistance as I developed a business plan to market to local banks.

Having limited capital, I sought out investors and applied for SBA loans via local banks and of the 13 banks I sold my plan to 5 came back with offers. Taking the best offer Indy Auto Parts was born as an S chapter corporation in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with 2 active shareholders and 3 passive investors Indy Auto Parts Inc was born in July 1988.

Throughout the years, Indy Auto has evolved with the changing market place as well as demographics. By niche marketing, the entity Indy has been able to compete with regional, national and online competition effectively and profitably for 30 years.

Future expansion includes a more aggressive campaign of services in our installation area as well as added online presence.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Running any small business is challenging and the two I run are now exception. Indy has always had intense competition in the automotive aftermarket. Online companies with no responsibility to pay sales tax has always been a huge challenge as the average customer can see a 6.25$ savings at every purchase made online or through the nail. As the internet grew margins have eroded as some companies online have no overhead to consider and the in some cases do not even hold inventory, selling product with no overhead considerations allows these companies to accept margins well below what a brick and mortar store must have just to open.

The economic lethargy during the Obama years caused sales to stay flat as we continued to expand into service and online sales.

I am currently looking to expand via added investor(s) and service.

Please tell us about Indy Auto and Northeast Arms.
The company motto has been Service, Selection and Satisfaction. The company is known especially for those first two points. Selection is an ongoing competitive challenge and always will be as we move in and out of profitable niches that chains and online competitors are slow to get into.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Actually, I took the advice of my Father and got into a business I enjoyed. However, I would not choose to compete in the automotive aftermarket solely based on parts sales again. I would be stronger in services and online as the value adder, profitability, and competition would be totally different. Right now, I am considering other business ventures that do lend themselves to greater margins and profitability.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Chip Mitchell

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