Harbour Group Plans to Rev Up Eckler’s

In March, St. Louis-based holding company Harbour Group acquired Titusville, FL-based Eckler Industries, which sells aftermarket Corvette parts and accessories via its Eckler’s catalog. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1961, Eckler employs about 100 people and offers 18,000 SKUs to consumers, repair shops, and dealers. The businesses of privately held Harbour Group, which are primarily manufacturing companies, have annual revenue exceeding $1.5 billion. “We believe there are significant opportunities for new product introductions, greater penetration into the retail sector, and acquisitions of complementary businesses serving this market,” Harbour Group chairman/CEO Sam Fox said in a statement.

The acquisition by Harbour Group will allow Eckler to continue its growth strategy, according to Ed Mills, president of Eckler Industries. For instance, Eckler will add more apparel items to the 378-page catalog, says Mike Wilson, vice president of sales and marketing.

“We also want to make the catalog a little more user-friendly,” Wilson says. “For example, a customer looking for brake calipers is not likely to find them in this densely populated catalog.”

Besides making the catalog easier to navigate, Eckler wants to enhance its Website. But don’t count on the company making a big push to migrate catalog customers to the Web as have other industry players. “Frequently, our customers call and ask some very technical questions, so we still need to staff those phone lines,” Mills says.