Aid Auto Stores going out of business

Mark LaRocca of Shirley enters an Aid Auto Mark LaRocca of Shirley enters an Aid Auto Store in Shirley. The company, which at one point had 18 Long Island stores, runs five shops in eastern Suffolk. (July 5, 2012) Photo Credit: Jacqueline Connor

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Aid Auto Stores, which operates five auto parts shops in eastern Suffolk County, announced Thursday it is going out of business.

"It was just a change in the business environment, and the tremendous amount of competition we've taken on in the last seven to eight years," said Aid Auto president Anthony Pirrera.

There is no exact timeline for Aid Auto's closing, and Pirrera said most of the company's 80 employees can expect to be paid through August.

Aid Auto began selling parts and car maintenance products on Long Island in 1966, and at the height of its operations in 2009, the company ran 18 stores on the island.

Since then, Pirrera said he believes the recession was a contributing factor to the business closing. "You would think in a recession, people would think fixing your car was a better option," Pirrera said.

Aid Auto was once the largest franchisee of Aid Auto Stores Inc., a public car products retailer that had stores across the Northeast. The public Aid Auto company, which was based in Westbury, ceased operations in 1998. The privately owned Aid Auto run by Pirrera has been independent of its former franchiser for nearly two decades, he said.

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Although the recession halted growth among independent aftermarket auto parts retailers, the industry made a strong comeback on the national level in 2010 -- a trend that does not seem to include Aid Auto.

"There are so many companies that are doing well in the industry, it would be hard to say why one company has not done well," said Ron Rossi, director of research for the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association.

Rossi added that competition is intense in the aftermarket industry.

As part of its going-out-of-business efforts, the Aid Auto stores will be offering 10- to 30-percent discounts on its products.

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