Dewey's Auto Supply

Being an independent business is still viable-with the right technology

Imagine being an independent automotive parts wholesaler, with a single-store, in a market that has become increasingly attractive to national retail chains and other well-capitalized competitors. Is it fair to assume that you would lose sleep worrying about the "other guys?"  

Not if you were Chad Howell, manager of Dewey's Auto Supply, a well-established, family-owned parts store based in northwestern Indiana. Howell takes his competition very seriously, but also understands that he can only control the service, value and reputation of his own business, an approach that has worked exceedingly well since the store opened in the mid-1990s.

"In my opinion, Epicor's service and support, and the Eagle solution are superior to the competition. I feel like we have great tools that can help us continue to grow for many years to come."

Chad Howell
Manager | Dewey's Auto Supply, Inc

Howell's father, Jim ("Dewey") Howell, who had run a successful jobber business in East Chicago for nearly 25 years, opened the Wanatah store to help launch Chad and his sister, Rachael, into the business in 1994. Jim remains active in an affiliated trailer sales and service enterprise, but Chad and Rachael oversee every aspect of the parts operation, which serves scores of automotive service providers as well as retail customers across a 20-mile radius. 

Dewey's Auto Supply's independent status (it maintains only a loose affiliation with one buying group) and comparatively small size can be misleading. In point of fact, Howell and his nine co-workers utilize the parts industry's most powerful business management software-Epicor Eagle for the Aftermarket-and have earned a reputation for being the one local supplier that provides the right parts and information the first time. 

"People know and trust us because we have a 20-year track record," Howell said. "Our counter staff has combined experience of nearly 100 years. So our customers can be confident that there won't be any surprises when they call us. And technology is a big part of that."

Early adopter, firm believer in technology 

Dewey's had used the venerable Epicor Prism business management solution for nearly a decade before Howell realized he needed more power, more flexibility, and more insight into the company's daily performance. In 2011, the store became one of the industry's first adopters of the powerful Epicor Eagle for the Aftermarket solution, which offers a vast array of features designed to improve business efficiency and profitability, and increase customer loyalty.  

"I tend to be more techy than some of my employees, and I'm more likely to embrace change when it makes good business sense," said Howell. "I wanted to upgrade to a system that would help us save time, make better decisions, and provide the new capabilities we need to continue to grow. Eagle was the obvious choice." 

Those key new capabilities include e-mailing and faxing customer invoices, statements, part photos, and other documents directly from the parts counter or back office; easily comparing prices of specific parts across multiple vendors; automating purchases through pre-set order-point calculations; and customizing eCatalog results to reflect product availability by warehouse, among others. 

"These were things we were confident would help increase our bottom line," said Howell. "This software really is state-of-the-art, and we're still not using its full capabilities. That means we can grow with Eagle for a long time. I really love it."

The Epicor LaserCat 3 advantage 

At the end of the day, every parts store is judged on its ability to provide the right products at the right place and time. The Dewey's counter staff earns high marks from installers and consumers alike, underscoring the importance of knowledgeable employees who are equipped with the best research and selling tools.

Central to the Dewey's customer experience is the Eagle system's integrated Epicor LaserCat 3 electronic catalog, which offers virtually instantaneous access to information on more than 10 million part numbers representing over 7,800 manufacturer lines. In addition to this industry-leading resource, Dewey's staff utilizes the Epicor Cover-to-Cover graphical eCatalog module, which features millions of product images, TSBs, installation instructions, and other content that adds value to every part sale. 

"Cover-to-Cover is a very nice tool that gets a lot of use here," Howell said. "It helps our counterpeople and customers confirm that we've found the right part for a specific job and includes other information that aids in the repair." 

Also integrated with the store's Eagle system is the Epicor ListingExpert eCommerce solution for eBay Motors. This tool enables users to create and post a virtually unlimited number of parts and other products for sale on their own customer eBay Motors store. "This has been a great addition to our sales," said Howell. 

"We're finding new customers, particularly for some of our older inventory that really doesn't address the needs of our local accounts. And we're adding these sales without the need to hire another person."

Service, support, satisfaction 

"I wish we would have had Epicor implement the software for us rather than choosing our own local resource," said Howell. "The process wasn't really difficult, but the Eagle service and support staff is excellent and our learning curve would have been a lot easier."  

Howell and the Dewey's staff aren't looking back-only forward-as they continue to focus on enhancing the value they deliver to customers each day. "In my opinion, Epicor's service and support, and the Eagle solution are superior to the competition. I feel like we have great tools that can help us continue to grow for many years to come."

About Epicor 

Epicor Software Corporation is a global leader delivering business software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail, and services industries. With more than 45 years of experience, Epicor has more than 20,000 customers in over 150 countries. Epicor solutions enable companies to drive increased efficiency and improve profitability. With a history of innovation, industry expertise, and passion for excellence, Epicor inspires customers to build lasting competitive advantage. Epicor provides the single point of accountability that local, regional, and global businesses demand. For more information, visit

Company Facts


  • Improve business efficiency and profitability
  • Increase customer loyalty to grow the business 


  • Epicor Eagle for the Aftermarket
  • Epicor LaserCat 3
  • Epicor Cover-to-Cover
  • Epicor ListingExpert


  • Saved time by e-mailing and faxing customer invoices, statements, part photos, and other documents directly from the parts counter and back office
  • Automated purchases through pre-set orderpoint calculations
  • Increased business with online parts sales without adding personnel

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