There are few businesses in Castlegar that deliver as far and wide as Ernie’s Used Auto Parts.
“We send parts all over the world,” said Stuart Ady, who owns the business with his wife Mary-Anne.
“We bring vehicles in. We process about 500 cars a year. We bring them in and make sure all environmental fluids are out, like oil, mercury switches, and any contaminants. The newer salvages are then put on the shelf. The older vehicles are put in the crusher pile.”
Ady said every part is inventorized into the computer.
“All our sales are available online at our website, www.euap.com and on EBay as well,” he said.
Ernie’s has sent parts to locations as diverse as Italy, Germany, Russia, Iran, and of course, the United States.
“Our local market is only about 15 per cent of our business,” said Ady.
Ernie’s Towing was started in 1974 by Stuart’s father Ernie with one truck.
In 1980, Stuart joined the business and added auto wrecking to the business.
The Adys took over full ownership of the business after Ernie died in 1991. The two eventually sold the towing part of the business to focus on the used parts side.
Ernie’s belongs to a group called QRP (Quality Recycled Parts).
“There are eight of us in B.C. in this group,” said Mary-Anne. “Our goal in this group is that we sell the best quality parts out there. This group of autowreckers that were with are very aggressive. The standards are very high.”
Stuart said to achieve the high standards at Ernie’s, all parts are cleaned and prepped.
“Engines have to look pristine when they are shipped out,” he said. “The fluids and contaminants are all removed. The parts have to be cleaned and marked properly and tested properly.”
Ernie’s stands behind their parts with a standard 90 day warranty on all parts.
The Adys are proud of their high environmental standards.
“We are promoting the environment with recycling,” said Stuart. “The used parts industry is one of the oldest recycling industries there is.”
Ernie’s moved to their new 10,000 square foot building in 2009.
“Everything is contained inside,” said Mary-Anne. “Anything to do with oil or removal is done inside the building. All the systems are pumped underground to containment areas so nothing hits the ground.”
Ernie’s was recently given a platinum award for their efforts with their environmental practices.
Ernie’s gets their vehicles from a number of sources including dealerships and ICBC write-offs.
“We have contracts with different dealerships in the Kootenays with the cash for clunkers or recycle your ride,” said Stuart. “Those vehicles all have to go to a certified yard which we are.”
The Adys prefer to focus on newer vehicle parts.
“The age of the vehicles we buy are usually 2011 down to 2008,” said Mary-Anne. “We try to concentrate on the newer stuff – the stuff that’s going to sell faster. We go for the lower kilometre stuff.”
Ernie’s does have older parts which they usually sell through EBay.
Both Stuart and Mary-Anne are active in the community. Stuart is the current vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce and is a long time volunteer firefighter.