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Store gears up for second location

Retail: AutoZone plans to open its second Santa Clarita Valley storefront in Saugus in late March

Posted: February 1, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 1, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Construction continues on the new AutoZone store at Soledad Canyon and Bouquet Canyon roads in Saugus on Tuesday.

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First launched in 1979, and now with a chain of more than 4,600 company-owned stores across the country, AutoZone is opening its second Santa Clarita retail auto parts store.
Slated to open sometime in late March, the interior of the new storefront located on the corner of Soledad Canyon and Bouquet Canyon roads  was busy as workers have been busy gutting. Windows with red trim were installed to make the storefront stand out and blend with the company’s red -and-orange logo.
The 7,500-square-foot store is expected to employ about 10 people, said Ray Palmer with the company’s Tennessee-based media relations office.
“We scout these sites personally,” Palmer said. “We don’t rely on others to select them for us.”
Typically, an AutoZone store has a 3-mile radius to serve, and any new stores coming into the area will be set apart from each other. The AutoZone’s newest location is about 4.75 miles from its companion store further up Soledad Canyon Road.
While the retailer sells to the public, many stores also have a commercial sales program that provides commercial credit and delivery of parts and other products to local repair garages, dealers and service stations.
“We look for communities that have a propensity for out-of-warranty vehicles because the lion’s share of our business is do-it-yourselfers,” Palmer said. “They felt the market was underserved, and that there was a need for another store in the area.”
The average vehicle in 2008 was 9.5 years old. As of last week, the average age became 10 years and 8 months, Palmer said.
In 1987, the company changed its name from Auto Shack to AutoZone, and by 1991, AutoZone had made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange. Stock shares have been trading around $347 per share this year.
In 1998, the company experienced unprecedented growth as it acquired nearly 800 stores from other auto-parts retailers and began expanding into Mexico, where today, AutoZone owns another 240 retail stores. Only one year later, the auto-parts retailer made the Fortune 500 list.
And the company’s growth wasn’t been slowed by the recession. People kept their cars longer and either worked on the vehicles themselves or hired someone to do it for them, Palmer said. The more cars age, the more parts they need.
“It’s been a great run. Our business has taken quite an upturn since recession hit in 2008,” Palmer said.

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