(SPONSORED CONTENT) Kevin and Dany Lacroix have made team building a key to success on and off the track at Pièces d’auto Lacroix, with Kevin continuing his winning ways in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series.
Adding NAPA to the team sets up Quebec operation for growth
Team building is at the very root of Pièces d’auto Lacroix: in the store, and on the track.
“My father started in 1977 with the help of my grandfather,” says Kevin Lacroix, who owns and operates the store group with his brother Dany. Founded with the financial support of his grandfather, who sold his milk delivery business, Kevin Lacroix’s father set about building a strong team for that first store in Saint-Eustache, Qué., growing to four successful stores in the region by the early 2000s.
“We started with a lot of paint and bodyshop products. That’s really how we started getting strong early on. Over the years, it remained a good part of the business, but we knew there was more potential in auto parts. So my father started selling more, and we hired the right people at the right time – our sales rep had a good customer base. So every time we were building a new store, it was up and running right away with good sales volume. It was really teamwork; we managed to get the right people and expand over the years.”
Later, they added a warehouse, in centrally located Boisbriand, to act as a hub operation that could feed their stores and make their inventory both more complete and more efficient. Today, Pièces d’auto Lacroix operates locations in Saint-Eustache, Mirabel, Terrebonne, Laval, and Ste-Thérèse, in addition to that central Boisbriand hub warehouse.
That emphasis on the importance of having the right tools and the right team in place continued when Kevin took an increased focus in the business.
Kevin, who had pursued a career in motorsports before taking on an ownership role with the business around 2008 (Dany’s involvement at that level started a little earlier), brought with him many of the lessons he learned in high-level racing.
“Most people see sports as having fun, but it’s more about getting invested in something. When you want to perform in any type of sports, you need to be very analytical. You analyze yourself, compare yourself and see how you can improve.”
While Kevin no longer pursues motorsports as a career, he continues to race, with a leading entry in the NASCAR Pinty’s series. He has a number of wins under his belt, and has finished as championship runner-up four times.
“But when I was younger, in open-wheel racing, we had every tool that you can imagine to improve the car. It’s more about improving the car and the team strategy, rather than improving your driving. When you get to a certain level, all the drivers are good. So, you get better by getting the team better.
“When you get to a certain level, all the drivers are good. So, you get better by getting the team better.
“When you get into a business, it’s the same thing.”
— Kevin Lacroix
“When you get into a business, it’s the same thing. You keep the same mindset of competing. You push yourself rather than waiting on people to push you. You put pressure on yourself, by yourself.”
And as the business has grown, he adds, so has the importance of teamwork.
“We grew a lot inside the same four walls. We were getting to a point where my brother and I could not do everything by ourselves. But it was tough to find the right people to grow.
“So when we went to NAPA, that’s one thing we were really looking for – because they have corporate stores, they have managers, assistant managers, territory managers. They have good people that I thought could help us grow.
“That was really important. If we wanted to grow more, we needed to quickly find a way to get more people.
“Also, with NAPA being one of the biggest in the industry, we were confident that they had better tools – the right tools to help us grow.”
Kevin says that even though it’s been less than a year since Pièces d’auto Lacroix teamed up with NAPA, he is sure it was the right move.
He notes in particular the strategic focus on business-building that NAPA provides, rather than just on purchasing.
“Your inventory rotates more; you don’t do those big bookings. You just order regularly and focus on going to the market, serving your customers properly and growing your business.”
He reflects that teaming up with NAPA has required big changes to systems and methods, but emphasizes how important the NAPA team continues to be in making him feel confident it was the right move for Pièces d’auto Lacroix.
“It’s really what we needed. It’s a big team. We did a big change – computers and software and everything – but in the long term, having the right people, a good team, and good support is really going to help.
“It was the right decision.”