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Oh yeah: O'Reilly Auto Parts to open in Sylvania

A new O’Reilly Auto Parts store is slated to open in six to eight weeks, next to the Harvey’s grocery store in Sylvania.

The store will have 5,300 square feet, said Justin Murray, field supervisor for Right Choice Contractors, a company based in McDonough, Ga., that’s renovating the space. The space formerly was occupied by CM City Rentals, which has moved to the Bi-Lo shopping center.

The O’Reilly store will employ about seven people and will sell auto parts to the do-it-yourselfers and professional mechanics, said Mark Merz, external reporting and investor relations manager.

The chain, based in Springfield, Mo., is banking on people keeping their cars longer during these troubled economic times and needing more parts. The company opened 150 new stores in 2008 and plans to open another 150 new stores in 2009, Merz said.

“People are not buying new cars,” Merz said. “It’s very much a positive for the auto after market industry.”

O’Reilly has about 3,200 stores nationwide, spread from coast to coast. The only places the company doesn’t have stores is New England, Alaska and Hawaii, he said.

Half of the chain’s 3,200 stores were added in 2008, when the company bought CSK Auto. CSK Auto operates stores under the names Checker Auto Parts, Schuck's Auto Supply, Kragen Auto Parts and Murray's Discount Auto Stores. O’Reilly is operating all of the CSK stores and is in the process of converting them to the O’Reilly name, a process that will take another two years to complete, Merz said.

He said O’Reilly is different from the other two auto parts stores in Sylvania. NAPA primarily focuses on selling to professional installers and Advance’s main focus is on do-it-yourselfers, he said. O’Reilly focuses equally on professional and the amateur mechanics, Merz said.

O’Reilly stores have the know-how and inventory that professional mechanics demand, Merz said, and that also benefits amateur mechanics.

The next-nearest O’Reilly stores are in Waynesboro and Rincon.

Merz said the new store will have a store manager, assistant manager, installer service specialist, parts specialist, driver for delivering parts and stock people. People may apply for jobs through the company’s Web site, at Applicants should apply for work at one of the nearby stores, such as the ones in Rincon or Waynesboro, and in the comments section say they want to work in Sylvania, Murray said.

A JPMorgan analyst said recently that auto parts retailers should get a boost from the country's aging vehicle car population, lower gas prices causing an increase in the number of miles being driven and this winter's especially cold and snowy weather.

Christopher Horvers also backed his "overweight" rating for O’Reilly Automotive Inc., saying he expects those factors to boost its earnings.