Retailer conquers a community connection

Jan. 1, 2020
If anyone has the right to be happy, it’s Scott Hindman, manager of Advance Auto Parts in Beaufort, S.C.

If anyone has the right to be happy, it’s Scott Hindman, manager of Advance Auto Parts in Beaufort, S.C. After all, the readers of the store’s community newspaper, The Beaufort Gazette, rated his outlet as the No. 1 parts store in 2004, an honor that was bestowed to them in 2003 as well.

“Even when we received it a second time, we were still surprised,” says Hindman, who also points out his store was ranked best in customer service, store appearance and parts availability. “Our team members were so happy to get this, and we were so proud that their hard work paid off.

“We don’t go after this type of recognition…that’s not the kind of business we’re in,” he adds. “Sometimes the only time you hear from someone is when something goes wrong, so this recognition really shows that the people in our town were paying attention to the great efforts of our entire team.”

Located in the middle of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, the Marine Corps Air Station in Paris Island and the Naval Hospital, Hindman says his store sees a steady stream of customers stationed there.

“We get a lot of business from them,” he says. “They’re always looking for extras for their personal vehicles, like parts to add on such as running boards, side rails for trucks and tool boxes.”

A second major source of traffic comes on Saturdays when he turns over a portion of his grounds to the children of the community for special events and programs.

Normally an extremely busy time anyway, Hindman says operating charity car washes from his location on the weekends just adds that extra boon to his business.

“By providing them with a location to raise money for their schools, we not only show them that we care, but many of their parents repay us by doing business with our store,” says Hindman.

He says his store has rarely turned  away a group, but if they cause problems, they will not be allowed to return.

“We keep a record of whose out there washing the cars, and if our customers complain, we make a note of it,” adds Hindman. “The only time when we have to say no is when our book of available dates from spring to fall fills up, which happens quite often.”

As an added bonus, Hindman says he’ll also donate car wash items that have been damaged in the delivery process.

Besides car wash charities and fund-raisers, his store recently completed a companywide campaign for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund.

“Our goal was to reach $300, but we raised $500 thanks to our shop customers and our walk-ins,” says Hindman.

The store is also raising money for a local firefighter who is recovering from cancer.

“We are making donations for an auction on his behalf,” says Hindman. “We’ll also host a few car washes and will one day contribute one percent of our sales to this fund-raising project.

“Besides building a strong connection with our community, we believe that if we buy T-shirts or donate to auctions, people will remember this the next time they need something for their vehicles.”

In business for more than 10 years, this company-owned Advance Auto Parts store also shares the Beaufort region with another Advance store located about 15 minutes away in nearby Port Royal. An additional store will soon be opening in Blufton.

Located within a short distance between three other major competitors, Hindman says their delivery program and knowledgeable parts pros give his store an advantage.

“We have a three-truck commercial program with two ASE certified commercial parts specialists and five delivery drivers,” says Hindman. “Our Parts Delivery Program allows us to deliver parts to our customers with overnight delivery.

“Also, our staff of 19 team members has more than 100 years of automotive experience between them,” boasts Hindman, as he is somewhat proud of this fact. 

As a parts business, Hindman says his store is unique to Beaufort.

“When you walk in our store, we want you to feel welcome and appreciated,” he says. “We take great pride in the appearance of our facility.

“No other parts store in our area is as clean, organized and fully stocked as ours,” he adds.

Hindman says he has his employees greet all customers immediately and has his parts department staffed to meet traffic flow.

“We do not want our customers to have to wait in long lines,” he contends. “We offer free battery installation and wiper blade installation.”

Although the store caters to all customers, Hindman says they are using various tactics in an effort to reach out to the female customer.

“We are doing this by having an atmosphere that welcomes the shopper,” explains Hindman. “Lower shelves for easier access, clean and well-stocked aisles free of clutter on the floor and free marketing brochures that tell a customer how to do everything, from properly waxing a car to installing batteries.”

With 100 copies of these brochures left in the store, it probably won’t be long until everyone in the community has a copy of their own.

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