..as reported in The Daily Herald (Chicago) 

Couple’s 1-800-Radiator franchise turns into hot investment

By Kim Mikus | Daily Herald Columnist

In an effort to keep customers cool, husband-and-wife team John and Kimberly Czaplicki recently expanded their business into Volo.

The Czaplicki’s launched their 1-800-Radiator franchise in Skokie a year ago. The thrust of the business is selling radiators and related parts, mainly to repair and auto body shops.

When mechanics repair vehicles, they usually need the parts fast. “We try to serve our customers in two hours or less,” John said.

The couple’s territory runs from Volo and Antioch to Chicago and includes Buffalo Grove, Wheeling, the Skokie area and towns in between. To better serve clients in the northern part of their territory, the couple opened a 1,759-square-foot warehouse at 26575 Commerce Drive in Volo last month. They carry between 500 and 600 radiators in each of their two warehouses.

“We’ve grown quickly,” John said. “During the past year, we’ve sold more than 6,000 radiators, fan assemblies and condensers,” he said.

There are about 190 franchises across the United States, each with its own territory. Other area franchises operate in Lombard, Rolling Meadows and Hillside.

One of the features of the company is a production team based in California that studies the radiators and compiles a data bank of information. The franchises are then able enter the make, model and engine type of the vehicle in need of repair and find the three best radiators. The consumer or mechanic can then determine which radiator would be best for the vehicle.

“With every make and model of car having two or three radiators that may fit, we serve a customer market that requires immediate, knowledgeable, interactive contact. Our customers want to talk to someone who knows their stuff whether they are researching online or picking up the phone,” John said.

Prior to launching the business, John, 43, worked in inside sales for S&C Electric Co. in Chicago. Kimberly worked in kitchen and bath design and in the restaurant business for years.

“We wanted to work together,” John said. The couple resides in Gurnee where they have six children ranging in age from 12 to 23. The business is open Monday through Saturday. For more, call (800) 723-4286.