Certified Parts Corporation (CPC) was founded in 1982 by James Grafft, with a mission to preserve well known international and local legacy brands that were in danger of extinction. Initially specializing in manufacturing service parts for these companies, CPC has grown into a major supplier to OEM’s and has brought some of these brands back into production. Comet, TecumsehPower, Wisconsin Wagon and vintage recreational vehicle parts makeup CPC’s current lineup of companies. CPC owns motorcycles and mini-cycle brands that include Bridgestone and Indian, Rupp, Chaparral and Steen along with a complimentary selection of hard-to-get engine parts that were used in many of the snowmobiles and mini-cycles of the day. A passion for history and recognizing opportunity serves as a guiding principle for Certified Parts Corporation.
Jim Grafft started work at Fox Corporation in Janesville, WI. Working at Fox, he saw the need for a continuous supply of parts for manufacturers that had gone out of business
Because Jim knew that eventually, the already-purchased bikes would need repair, whether it was a new sprocket, new handlebar grip or new tire, he bought the service parts division from Fox when they shut down in 1976.
Jim purchased Bridgestone in 1976 on his 26th birthday.
Certified Parts Corporation was established
Arctic Enterprises declared bankruptcy and Jim saw the opportunity to buy the snowmobile division which included Arctic Cat and Scorpion, including tools, dies, intellectual property and trademarks. Only two people have owned Arctic Cat, Edgar Hetteen and Jim Grafft.
Certified Parts Corporation licensed Artco to manufacture snowmobiles in Thief River Falls, Minnesota and was controlling shareholder. Soon after, CPC formed a joint venture licensing agreement with a Swedish distributor to manufacture and assemble snowmobiles for the European market.
Production of Arctic Cat snowmobiles began in the Thief River Falls plant. In order to get Arctic Cat started again, Grafft reached out to the dealer base and asked for an agreement from them to pre-pay for the 1st year of production. He also began working to put together a group of former Arctic Cat employees, loyal dealers, local investors in Thief River Falls area, as well as a group of outside investors that saw the opportunity to keep the brand alive. Considering the record-breaking interest rates at the time, it was an almost inconceivable feat to put together a marketing plan that would allow CPC to build 2800 snowmobiles that first year.
Arctic Cat sold its shares and licensing to Artco on December 31, 1986.
During this period, CPC has purchased inventories of well-known watercraft products such as Chris Craft wood-hulled boats, Wet Bike, Eska and Surf Jet. Additionally, CPC purchased the exclusive rights to Chapparal, Speedway and Alsport.
Certified Parts Corporation purchased certain assets of TecumsehPower Company’s engine business, including manufacturing equipment and dyes, along with their parts inventory. Lauson Power Products, LLC was established to manage this part of the business and bring back the historical name of the engine line dating back to 1895.
CPC purchased certain assets of Comet drives and Hoffco outdoor power equipment, along with their parts inventory, and is now the original parts source for the Comet and Hoffco brands.
2009 was a busy year from the purchase of Tecumseh followed by the purchase of Comet. Both Tecumseh and Comet were merged into a 200,000 sq ft factory in Edgerton, WI where original parts including carburetors and the full line of Comet torque converts and clutches are manufactured. Comet continues to supply well know OEM manufacturers in various industries including recreational, construction, agricultural and marine.
Certified Parts Corporation entered into an agreement with Liquid Combustion Technologies (LCT) for the sale and service support of Lauson, Snow King and LCT branded engines. This partnership effectively reintroduces the Snow King and Lauson brands to the marketplace. The distributor and dealer network in place under TecumsehPower will provide service for all three brands of engines. The service and distribution network under TecumsehPower & Comet are known worldwide.
Wisconsin Wagon was purchased.
Certified Parts Corporation celebrates it's 30th birthday, May of 2012.
Comet Clutches unveils the new logo
Certified Parts Corporation was featured in the Rock County Roots: History of Local Businesses.
Jay Grafft is promoted to President of Certified Parts Corporation.
30+ years after it started, Certified Parts Corporation continues to supply many of the service parts required to keep these legacy brand products running.