A Joliet car parts store will be closing its doors in late September.
Carquest at 2409 W. Jefferson St. has been in operation as a parts shop for about 40 years, although changing names and hands along the way.
The building itself originally was an Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips restaurant. In the 1970s, it was converted it into an independent auto parts store. Phil Bauer and Ray Switzer bought it in 1979.
“We bought it in the late ’70s, and named it Auto Parts Center and had it until 2001,” owner Phil Bauer said.
The store became a corporate Carquest after 2001 and has been one since.
About four years ago, Car Quest was bought by Advanced Auto Parts, and Bauer said that they are moving to the Advanced Auto Parts store up the street on Jefferson Street.
“It’s been in the works for several years. We knew we’d be consolidated with Advanced up the street, it was just a question when the company would have time to do our store and combine us and Advanced in Joliet,” Bauer said.
Bauer said he has watched times change throughout the years in his time at the Joliet and Romeoville Carquests.
“When we first started in the late ’70s, it was a whole different world than what it is today,” Bauer said. “As cars evolved, our business has evolved. As you can imagine, a car in 1979 is just a little bit different the in in 2017.”
Bauer said that there weren’t as many car brands back when they opened.
“It used to be if you had 10 parts, you could cover a large part of the market. Now you need 100 of the same to cover the same part of the market. There’s so many makes and models,” Bauer said. “Back in the ’70s, there was no Kia, or a lot of the Hyundai.”
Pat Maher works at Carquest as a driver and calls Carquest a “little mom and pop shop.”
“It’s always been focused on satisfied customers rather than pushing parts,” Maher said. “I’m sad to see the doors close. Little mom and pop shops like this are fading away,”
Bauer said that they are remodeling the Advanced Auto parts starting next week to make their wholesale back end bigger in order to accommodate the additional merchandise after the merge.
“Thanks to everybody who’s supported us over the years,” Bauer said.
After Sept. 26 Carquest in Joliet will be closed for good.
“It’s more than just a store closing, it’s a piece of Joliet history closing,” Maher said. “We’ve served a lot of DIYers and a lot of repair shops.”