Power Heavy Duty celebrating 30 years of helping service specialists and distributors grow and excel

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Power Heavy Duty marks its 30th anniversary this year of helping independent service specialists and parts distributors grow their businesses and thrive in an ever-competitive aftermarket.

The buying and marketing group was founded in 1994 by Brett Upton with a handful of independent service providers, primarily spring and suspension specialists, and parts manufacturers serving this segment.

Three decades later later, Power Heavy Duty has a record 224 locations throughout the U.S., and added 18 new members in 2023, another record.

“My family operated a large automotive parts buying group for many years and some of our largest members were also very active with heavy-duty accounts. At their request, we pursued additional programs for them with suppliers more focused on the heavy-duty aftermarket, and that led to the creation of Power Heavy Duty,” says Upton. “The relationships we built with these suppliers and group members was key to our early growth and is still the driving force behind our continued success.”

[RELATED: VIPAR Heavy Duty kicks off IMPACT Conference with organizational update]

Power Heavy Duty was acquired by VIPAR Heavy Duty in 2014 and is part of the VIPAR Heavy Duty Family of Companies. Together, they represent more than 920 locations throughout North America, including 600 service providers, with an estimated $2.5 billion in final point-of-sale revenue.

“Power Heavy Duty joining the VIPAR Heavy Duty Family of Companies was significant in positioning us to include the full range of independent aftermarket service providers and parts distributors,” says VIPAR Heavy Duty President and CEO Chris Baer. “It has been a very successful union that brings greater value to our distributors and supplier partners, but more importantly, it delivers greater value to our end-user customers. The ‘Power’ brand is a critical part of our growth acceleration plans.”

Starting with a fairly specialized membership, Power Heavy Duty members now include service providers and parts distributors that are as diversified as the aftermarket itself. The network includes businesses of all sizes, serving every market and providing solutions for every customer’s needs.

The organization’s extensive product lines and broad range of marketing and communications resources have helped fuel its growth and increase value for both members and supplier partners, the company says.

“Cummins-Meritor has been a steadfast advocate of the Power Heavy Duty network since Meritor’s acquisition of the Euclid brand,” says David Wintle, national accounts manager for Cummins-Meritor. “Power Heavy Duty’s membership consists of experienced industry veterans, many with expertise in the spring and suspension business, which is a great fit with Euclid’s core business to this day. The partnership has grown through the years with new product lines and new ways to support the expanding network, and the collaboration between Cummins-Meritor, Power Heavy Duty and VIPAR Heavy Duty will lead into the future for years to come.”

When it comes to being an industry veteran and spring and suspension expert, Tampa Spring Company, which was founded in 1927 and among the earliest companies to join the network leads the way.

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“I was at the Spring and Suspension Association show [now the Service Specialists Association] and was speaking with a supplier who recommended I join one of the buying groups, and his suggestion was Power Heavy Duty,” says John Messina, owner of Tampa Spring Company and a member of the Power Heavy Duty advisory council. “Brett was at the event recruiting new members. After we spoke and I looked at our options, they seemed to be the best fit for us, and it was the right choice. We joined and it’s been a good relationship; in fact, it’s become a great relationship.”

He notes the relationship continues to evolve and bring new benefits, such as the IMPACT Conference, which included Power Heavy Duty for the first-time last year. Messina, who attended the event, says it was a great opportunity to network with peers, strengthen relationships with suppliers and make new ones, and learn more about industry issues and best business practices, such as the session on cybersecurity.

Dayton Parts is an original supplier partner and remains a strong ally. Walter Sherbourne, vice president of Canada, Mexico and group sales for Dayton Parts, says, “Traditionally, Power Heavy Duty members were spring and service facilities a key segment for us as our product portfolio centers around undercarriage components — but over time they have seen extensive expansion into new channels by adding warehouse distributors and diesel specialists.

“We anticipate our relationship to keep growing as they continue to increase their footprint and play a vital role in connecting Dayton Parts with quality businesses who provide parts and service solutions to the transportation industry.”

Cyphers Truck Parts has been a Power Heavy Duty member since 1997 and its owner, Kevin Cyphers, sits on the group’s advisory council. He says it’s brought numerous advantages.

“Instead of being a little fish in your own little pond, you become a much bigger voice with greater access to suppliers, product lines and group pricing. If I call up and say ‘I’m part of Power Heavy Duty,’ people listen,” he says. “It’s also facilitated many new friendships and peer-to-peer relationships.”

One of those relationships helped his 83-year-old business survive a catastrophic event. He recalls that in 2010 a major fire destroyed the company’s facility and inventory. “While some competitors are trying to put you in the ground, the group helps everyone pull in the same direction,” he says. “During that very difficult time for us, we got a helping hand from Associated Truck Parts, a VIPAR Heavy Duty distributor, who helped us with products and allowed us to continue to serve our customers. It was assistance that came from a personal place, not just two businesses doing business together. It shows what the value of being in the group really is.”

As new members are brought into the network, the benefits are quickly realized. USA 1 Diesel Truck & Trailer Parts in Penitas, Texas, joined Power Heavy Duty last year. Its manager, Mario Hinojosa, says they have already increased their product lines, grown their sales and brought customers greater cost savings.

“It’s a great organization and works well for businesses like us. It was easy to integrate into our heavy-duty parts distribution model,” Hinojosa says. “We see the benefits. We have access to more suppliers and get our inventory with better pricing.”

Through three decades there are many stories from many service providers, distributors and suppliers that tell of similar support, camaraderie and growth.

“Our goal from day one was to support independent service specialists and parts distributors through access to the products they need – at competitive prices — and provide them the best support possible to achieve their full potential and be leaders in their markets,” says Upton, Power Heavy Duty’s director of business development within the VIPAR Heavy Duty Family of Companies. “And 30 years later, we’re still doing it!”

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