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..click on the photo to read about Dick's 'NASCAR Experience'
History of Hedahls Auto Plus
Hedahls, Inc. became an auto parts wholesaling company by accident. Ed Hedahl, the founder, started by selling new cars, first Fords in his Mercer, North Dakota hardware store, then Durants in Bismarck. When Durant went broke, Ed was left with spare parts and used cars. He sold what he could, restocked, expanded his lines, and continued through the 30s, selling product from a van throughout southwestern North Dakota, based in Bismarck. By the late 30s, business had improved to such an extent that Ed got to pay income tax for the first time.
Ed's death in November of 1942 might have been the end of the business, had not his daughter, Beulah, interrupted her college education to run the company until her brothers, Erling and Neil, returned from serving in the military in World War II.
In 1950, Hedahls opened their first branch store, in Linton, North Dakota. The 50s saw Hedahls diversifying into the sale and service of televisions, boats, and outboard motors. During the 50s Hedahls also joined together with other mid-western jobbers and formed Automotive Northern Warehouse Inc. as a regional buying group to maximize purchasing efficiency.
By 1960, a conscious decision was made by management to regain an automotive focus, and the second branch store was opened, in Hettinger, North Dakota, and a machine shop was added to the Bismarck store. The business expanded further in 1967, when Hedahls purchased QB&R, Inc., their biggest competitor and the oldest automotive supply firm in North Dakota.
The 70s saw more growth and expansion, with the creation of NEMAC Warehouse, BENCO Equipment, Equipment Leasing Ent., Main Street Tire Co., and several more Hedahls Auto Parts stores. Erling Hedahl retired in 1979, but continued to be involved in the business, serving on the Board of Directors until his death in 1993.
In 1984, Hedahls acquired stores in Detroit Lakes and Fergus Falls, Minnesota. But the 80s was a decade of extremes: boom and bust in the oil patch, bumper harvests and searing drought, hyper-inflation and nationwide recession, record new car production and factory closings. Besides the unsettled business climate of the decade, every company, every employee, indeed much of the auto parts industry nationally, was stunned by the early death of Neil Hedahl in the summer of 1986.
Neil's son, Dick Hedahl, was named president and continues to run the company today. The challenge for the 90s was to control inventory at the same time that the sheer number of different parts was exploding. One element of the solution is sophisticated computerization. The other element was Automotive Northern Warehouse and the alliance Hedahls had with them since 1954. Now known as Auto Plus Auto Parts, this major supplier provides almost daily delivery of stock orders to all the Hedahls stores from their distribution center in Mason City, Iowa.
Hedahls embarked on its biggest store count expansion to date when on July 1, 2005, Hedahls took over the Mann's Automotive operation adding six more stores.
The Board of Directors of Hedahls, Inc. is composed of both Hedahl family stockholders as well as non-family individuals.
The focus of Hedahls Auto Plus for the future is clear. Our strategy for success is to give our customers a broad availability of quality products, services and information at a competitive price by the best trained people.
Hedahls Board Members and Officers 2015
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Copyright © 2007 || Hedahls Auto Plus || All rights reserved
100 East Broadway, PO Box 1038, Bismarck, ND 58502-1038
701-223 8393 || 800-433-2457 || 701-221 4251 - fax
January 10 2002 || www.hedahls.com/history.html