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Company History

Crow-Burlingame Company was founded as an Arkansas corporation in June 1919. Two friends, W. R. “Bob” Crow and J. G. “Judge” Burlingame formed an automobile accessory company, selling the state’s car dealers many of the items that now come as standard equipment. Originally, manufacturers shipped automobiles without bumpers, horns or most common accessories; it was the dealer’s responsibility to equip the cars for the customers. Crow-Burlingame Company took orders by telephone and shipped statewide, overnight by train.
Growth and change came quickly. In 1925, the Company moved from Fourth and Center Streets in Little Rock to a larger building at Fourth and Spring Streets. When manufacturers began shipping their cars fully equipped, Crow-Burlingame Company shifted its focus to replacement parts and machine shop operations.

The first branch store opened in El Dorado, Arkansas in 1928 when Crow-Burlingame Company purchased an existing store from Service Parts Company. By 1938, growth of the Little Rock location necessitated a move to Fifth and Arch Streets for additional space. From this point on, the Company grew steadily until there were twenty-one store locations at the outbreak of World War II.

During the prosperous years after the war, expansion was rapid including the opening of nineteen stores in one year. In addition, during this period many employee benefit plans were developed, including the Company funded pension plan.

In 1955, the main store was moved from its location in front of the warehouse to a new location just two blocks away at Seventh & Arch Streets. This branch was our first “model” store and set a pattern that was used for many years.
Changing times and new government regulations required the Company to separate into two companies in 1958. Crow-Burlingame Company continued to operate the stores and Parts Warehouse, Incorporated began to handle the warehouse distribution side of the business. During the 1960s, the Company became a multi-state chain through the acquisition of Rapides Auto Supply in Alexandria, Louisiana, and Tillman Auto Parts in Shreveport, Louisiana. The 1970s saw the purchase of eight stores in southern Missouri. By 1979, over 60 store operations were in place.

Some of the essential people during the Company’s early years were:

T. L. James General Manager – He was a former bank president who joined the Company because of bank failures during the depression
K. V. Browne Head Purchasing Agent - Later, first President of Parts Warehouse, Inc., General Manager of Crow-Burlingame Co. after the death of Mr. James, and President after Mr. Crow’s death.
Gene Smith Sales Manager - For many of the Company’s formative years, he was nationally known for his aggressive sales programs and new approaches to developing business.
E. F. Lord, Sr., District Manager - He was responsible for the purchase, design and construction or lease of branch store buildings. Served as Vice-President, President when Mr. Browne retired, and later Chairman of the Board.
Copeland Hughes Assistant Purchasing Agent - Served as an assistant to Mr. Browne, President of Parts Warehouse, Inc. when Mr. Browne returned to Crow-Burlingame Company, then President until his retirement. He guided the warehouse to become one of the outstanding warehouse distributor companies in the nation.
More major changes took place in 1981 as the Company purchased its largest independent competitor, 555, Inc. Parts Warehouse, Inc. moved to its present location at 1901 East Roosevelt Road in Little Rock, with modern automated facilities. The same acquisition gave the Company an additional warehouse operation in Fort Smith.

Replacement Parts, Incorporated (RPI) was formed as a holding company in the late 1980s and brought the Company back together as it had been in its early years. RPI now owns Crow-Burlingame Co., Parts Warehouse, Inc., and several smaller corporations. The Employee Stock Ownership Plan, or ESOP, started during this time. Today our employees own approximately 15% of the total Company.

Changing technology and the need for better efficiency opened the door to the computer revolution. By 1992, all of our stores were computerized but the updating process is never-ending.

In January 1994, a chain of stores and two warehouses in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area were purchased. These two warehouses combined to form a major distribution center that currently supplies our stores and many independently owned stores in Oklahoma and Northwest Arkansas.
In addition, in 1994, our Company joined the national marketing group known as “Bumper-To-Bumper.” Today this group is one of the largest of its kind in the nation, with members located across the United States. The Bumper-To-Bumper group formed the alliance with other marketing groups in 1998; it now shares memberships using the other trade names of All Pro and Auto Value. Being a voting member of the Bumper-To-Bumper group provides our Company the buying power and marketing programs necessary to compete with other similar groups in our market areas. In January 1995, our Company purchased 19 Parts Plus stores located in south Arkansas, east Texas and eastern Oklahoma. Two years later in 1997, the General Offices moved from downtown Little Rock to the Parts Warehouse location at 1901 East Roosevelt Road. On June 15, 1999, our Company celebrated eighty (80) years of service. Every store had an open house for their customers that day.
Continuing its growth, in October 2000, the Company purchased 21 stores located in Louisiana and Mississippi plus a warehouse distribution center in Monroe, Louisiana. In January 2001, 13 more stores in Louisiana and Texas and a warehouse distribution center located in Uncertain, Texas were added. This warehouse had been in operation for over 50 years and through the years had acquired various branch stores. A major addition was made to the Monroe distribution center in 2001 and in December the warehouse inventory and service from Uncertain, Texas was transferred to the Monroe location.

After more than 80 years in business, the Company operates more than 140 store operations in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. Parts Warehouse now has three distribution centers: Little Rock, Arkansas; Monroe, Louisiana; and Tulsa, Oklahoma. We compete with national companies such as NAPA, Parts Plus, O’Reilly, CarQuest, AutoZone and many locally owned independent jobbers.

Recognized nationally as one of the largest, privately owned parts store operations in the country, we are confident that our future will be as bright as our long and colorful past.
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Our Company is about:
Hard Work,... Team Work,... and Customer Service,...
The Hard Work of getting The Right Part to the customer,... the First Time, ... Every Time

The Team Work required to make it happen, ... All day, ...Every day

with great Customer Service,.....110% of the time

... That's what we are all about!
All day,... Every day,... we are charged with the responsibility of being a humble servant of the customer,…..of being directly involved in making their day more efficient, more profitable, and less stressful. We can accomplish this by doing everything in our power to understand and then exceed the customer's expectations of us as their first call supplier of parts and services.