Auto parts store coming?

Published 9:47 am Wednesday, April 20, 2011

FRANKLIN—O’Reilly Auto Parts has purchased an Armory Drive property reportedly for a new store.

Blake Blythe, owner of Blake Ford Mercury in Franklin, sold the parcel to the national chain for $375,000, according to a real estate transfer filed at Southampton County Circuit Clerk’s office. The nearly one-acre lot lies across from Mike Duman Chevrolet on Sachs Avenue.

“I had been working with the city for 10 months on this,” Blythe added. “I think it will be very good for the area.”

An official with O’Reilly Auto Parts confirmed Tuesday the company is interested in bringing a store to Franklin.

“It looks like we are very interested in a site there,” said Mark Merz, director of external reporting and investor relations for O’Reilly.

Merz said there is no indication that construction plans have been sent to the city, which means the project is at least 90 days out. He said there is no time frame for the store’s opening.

O’Reilly plans to open 170 new stores this year, Merz said.

The chain operates in 38 states, with a total of 3,570 stores and 23 distribution centers, thus ranking it in the top three auto parts distributors in the nation.