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Published: Tuesday, 10/12/2004

Parts wholesaler ravaged by fire vows to reopen

An auto parts wholesaler whose main Toledo distribution center was destroyed by fire Saturday said yesterday that he plans to reopen, possibly downtown.

Duke Young, president of Cleveland-based Pat Young Service Co., said he will be in Toledo today to look for a site for a replacement for the warehouse at 26 17th St. near Monroe St.

The firm won't rebuild on the site. "We want to get going again quickly, and probably wouldn't be able to do that there," Mr. Young said.

The weekend blaze sent flames 300 feet into the air and black clouds of smoke over downtown. The cause is not yet determined.

The firm is serving customers from a second warehouse in Sylvania completed in January, Mr. Young said. Ten employees and 10 independent delivery drivers have been temporarily assigned there, he added.

Additional phone lines are being installed to handle increased business, he said.

The firm sells and delivers auto parts to repair shops, usually on a half-hour to 45 minutes notice.

Because auto mechanics keep few parts on hand, wholesalers must be close to customers to be competitive, according to repair shop personnel.

Most shops place orders in the morning for work scheduled that day, Mr. Young explained.

The wholesaler, which has nine locations throughout Ohio, was founded by Mr. Young's grandfather 75 years ago.

It came to Toledo in 1994 with the purchase of EPM Corp.

Originally known as Electric Power Maintenance Co., EPM was founded in Toledo in the early part of the 20th century by a group that included Frank Duffeck.

Records at the Ohio secretary of state's office date the firm's origins to 1923, although news accounts suggest it was in operation as early as 1915.

The warehouse that burned was built in 1930, Lucas County real estate records show.



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