The founder of an auto parts network that spans the province died of cancer on Monday at age 65.
Ed Coates was half of the partnership formed in 1974 when he and Ray Lord opened their first 900-sq.-ft store in Maple Ridge.
Their philosophy was built on a common-sense approach, according to their website.
“Knowledgeable salespeople selling quality merchandise, backed by a commitment to service wouldn’t create instant success, but would give them a fighting chance to make it in the long run.”
Coates later bought out his partner in the early 1980s and started expansion of the Lordco chain, first to Agassiz in 1984, then Port Coquitlam in 1985 and Abbotsford and Hope in 1987. The company’s head office remains in Maple Ridge.
“As the economy recovered, Lordco parts were in high demand. Expansion was no longer a possibility but a requirement to meet the needs of its customers.”
There are now 97 Lordco locations throughout B.C. and the chain is the largest privately held auto parts distributor in Canada.
A news release from his wife Marlyn said Coates was a visionary and born leader.
“Ed succeeded in creating a company that reflects his character – aggressively seeking success, all the while taking a personal interest in the well-being of its 1,750 loyal employees.”
He also passed on his love of his business to his children. Samantha, Sarah, Ian and Candace are still working for the company.
Coates was born in 1948 in New Westminster and his first job was delivering newspapers. He worked at sawmills and other jobs before joining Walker and Sons, where he delivered auto parts before moving to the parts counter.
“The automotive industry has lost a true original who built a unique business model that will be emulated for years to come,” Marlyn said.
“He truly was a great man who never forgot a name or face,” said Garth Hansen, with Walnut Grove Auto Tech.