It’s not often you hear a reference to Costco and a Greek goddess in the same sentence.
But Panacea Aftermarket Company – its name has its roots in the goddess of healing, or finding a remedy or solution for all problems – has a foundation of buying in bulk and passing the savings on.
Don Martindale, president, started the company a little over a year ago to fill a need he saw.
“I have been in this business for over 30 years, the vast majority of that time at the dealership level,” Martindale said. “I worked in every department at your typical forklift dealership. Out of all the different segments of the lift truck industry – new sales, used, rental, service – I knew that the aftermarket parts area was THE segment that screamed for an alternative.”
The first year has been “incredible,” with growth exceeding forecasts, he said. Experience, fair pricing, quality and service created the growth, and he sees it as confirmation of his vision.
He prices his product “along the same lines a dealership would, meaning, taking a fair percentage over our landed cost and not discounting from an OEM price list.”
Martindale started as the lone employee 18 months ago, and now nine people are employed full-time.
“Since we were a start-up, the plan was to cut our teeth here in Canada with limited sales to the U.S., get our systems set up, staffing taken care of, IT and communications infrastructure established,” Martindale said.
He planned to open the first U.S. location in the company’s third or fourth year, but has opened a 15,000 square foot warehouse near Miami and has a shipping point in Buffalo, New York. He is making plans for another U.S. location.
“The aftermarket parts landscape has changed significantly over the past few years,” Martindale said. “In my opinion, it seems that with so many less competitors and choices as far as suppliers in this once extremely competitive market, the perceived attitude is ‘Hey, you’re lucky we’re selling to you, if you don’t like us take your business elsewhere. Oh wait, you can’t, can you?’”
The company’s product line will grow significantly, he said, “not only by commodity, such as our LED line of lighting, but by OEMs as well.
“To be completely honest, our customers really appreciate what we have done. They have already noticed that the aftermarket pricing has gone down, most notably in Canada where we have started and I believe we are somewhat responsible for that,” Martindale said. “Our competition has accused us of not understanding the value of forklift parts. They’re wrong on two counts: we do understand the value of the parts, but more importantly, we understand and appreciate the value of our customers.”
Mary Glindinning is a freelance writer who has worked at daily and weekly newspapers for more than 20 years. She lives in rural Shullsburg, Wis. You may contact her by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.