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5 Minutes With

Five Minutes with … Corey Bartlett, President, Automotive Parts Headquarters Inc.

Today, introduces a new feature called “Five Minutes With…” Every so often, our editorial staff will select one aftermarket industry professional to get to know a little better. Participants are asked to respond to a series of questions that can be answered in about the same amount of time you might spend chatting at the office coffee pot or waiting for an elevator. This week we hear from Corey Bartlett, president of Automotive Parts Headquarters Inc. (APH) in Saint Cloud, Minn.


Amy Antenora has been reporting on the automotive aftermarket since 2002.

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Corey Bartlett, MAAP


Automotive Parts Headquarters Inc.
Saint Cloud, Minn.

Corey is the third generation of the Bartlett family to lead APH, which operates 72 Auto Value parts store locations throughout the Upper Midwest, in addition to servicing and supporting 36 independently owned parts stores that are members of the Auto Value jobber marketing program.

In addition to his role as president of APH, Corey serves on the marketing board of the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance and the Leadership Development Network for the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). He was recently named one of the inaugural recipients of AAIA’s new Aftermarket Impact Awards, which recognize four aftermarket professionals, age 45 or younger, who have made remarkable contributions within the aftermarket industry. Corey was also recognized in ROI magazine’s “5 Under 40” in 2010 as an outstanding local leader in central Minnesota.



What was your first job in the industry?

I fondly remember coming down to the warehouse for the annual physical inventory. I was probably 7 or 8, and while my limited attention span didn’t make me an ideal candidate for clipboard duty, I was proficient at cleaning up discarded cardboard boxes and helping distribute the boxed lunches.

Later in my career (age 9) I had the pleasure of traveling with Dad to jobber changeovers and assembling new Standard Motor Products bin boxes. For a 9-year-old, there is nothing more satisfying than transforming a piece of flat cardboard into a magical box. Over and over and over.



What do you like best about your current position?

I enjoy the opportunity to work with our management team — a group of passionate, articulate, skilled and driven people who play to win. Also, I have the chance to build relationships with current and potential customers … some of the aftermarket’s best and brightest.

Did you initially intend to pursue a career in the aftermarket? If not, what drew you to the industry and what keeps you here?

The opportunity to follow in the footsteps of my dad and grandfather is very compelling … knowing that I’m delighted and confounded by the same things that delighted and confounded them a generation or two ago. If my family had been cellists, I would have likely entered the family business of playing the cello. Instead, I entered the aftermarket, and I really enjoy the industry. I suppose it’s like entering into an arranged marriage and you end up really liking the other person.



What do you do when not at work?

In the summer, I enjoy fishing off the dock. (Just sitting idle on the dock feels pretty lazy. But, sitting on the dock with a line in the water is dignified.)

In the winter, I enjoy making (and eating) chili. The recipe is available (royalty-free) at:


What two words best sum up your personality?

Happy and creative.


What are you currently reading?

I always like to have two books going at the same time — one fiction and one non-fiction. Nearly all of my “reading” happens on the move — via audiobook. For some reason, when I drive, I can only listen to fiction, and when I’m exercising I can only listen to non-fiction.

Right now, in the non-fiction/exercise category, I’m listening to Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers.”

In the fiction/driving category, I’m listening to the newest Virgil Flowers novel: “Bad Blood” by John Sandford.


Most Peculiar Obsession?

Font usage. Since my first days on the middle school yearbook staff, I’ve been a strong advocate for proper font usage. Life as a “font snob” can be tough, but I’ve accepted that it’s my lot in life. To better understand this unfamiliar world, you can check out and the 2007 Gary Hustwit movie “Helvetica.”



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