Bond Auto Parts of Barre recently acquired Smith Auto Parts, a longtime company in Castleton.
In a statement, Bond Auto Parts CEO Scott Bond called the acquisition “a natural fit.”
“We’ve been doing business with the Smith family for over 30 years. My father began calling on Joel [Smith] … back in 1977,” he said, referring to the date of the Castleton company’s founding. “We’ve had a strong partnership ever since.”
Smith’s was a jobber store for Bond, meaning that it remained independent, although it got inventory from the Bond warehouse. Bond purchased the business on May 2, and the store, located on Route 4A a half-mile west of Castleton Corners, is currently “increasing the store inventories and retrofitting the store with Bond Auto Parts signage and branding elements,” according to the recent statement from Bond.
Manager Cliff Smith said the changeover will make the store’s prices “a lot more competitive.” The brother of founder Joel Smith, Cliff Smith began working at the store in 1985, and continues to run the operation under its new ownership.
As of last week, Smith and his crew were sporting shirts inscribed with the Bond legend, but the signage out front still identified the business as Smith’s. The signage change and other modifications will take place over the next few months, Smith said. The counter will be moved closer to the front door, and space will be expanded behind the counter to accommodate the increased inventory.
Smith said there would be a grand reopening ceremony, but a date was not set for the event yet, as of early last week.
Bond is the nation’s 15th-largest auto parts company, according to the company. Founded in 1956 by Earl and Mary Bond, the enterprise now maintains 48 outlets in Vermont, New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.