Smithfield, RI – As many ABPA members know, my office is based in RI which is the smallest US state. Back in the 1980’s, the popular tourism slogan was “Rhode Island, the biggest little state in the union”. To this day, I am not 100% certain what that meant. Despite our small size, Rhode Island does have two ABPA members headquartered here (other members service from nearby MA or CT) and one of those is long-time member Bichun Automotive based in Cranston, RI. Owner Dave Bichun was kind enough to let me stop by recently for an updated tour of his facility and to discuss his challenges in today’s climate.
First off, a little history on Bichun Automotive which other readers will identify with. Dave started his business back in 1984 in his garage in Warwick, RI exclusively selling truck parts. Originally, the company name was “Bichun Truck Parts”. As his business grew, Dave saw the need to expand his product line and started to carry aftermarket collision parts. Dave remembers the early days of fulfilling his orders, “I was constantly on the move. I would leave RI at 3AM to drive to New Jersey to pick up parts from various suppliers before driving the four hours back and delivering them to my customers.”
Soon enough, Bichun quickly outgrew the garage and moved into their first warehouse by the airport. After outgrowing that facility, they moved into a new, larger facility in Cranston RI before moving yet again to their present location. Here, they have an incredibly clean facility with high warehouse ceilings and plenty of office space. Even better, they have room for expansion.
Despite this growth over the past 36 years, Bichun is still a family business. Dave’s two sons are active employees as is his wife, Joanne who handles the accounting responsibilities.
As someone who competed against Bichun while I worked at KSI and Veng before that, their service and quality parts are their keys to success. They have many long-term employees who have developed tight relationships with their customers. Also, as can be seen in the pictures, Bichun believes in carrying CAPA-certified parts when available.
Check out the gallery below for some photos from the visit: