Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Fly-In With A Purpose


Started as a small aircraft-parts store in Fullerton, Calif., Aircraft Spruce now thrives in three locations


Today, Aircraft Spruce And Specialty has become well established in its permanent home in Corona. The company is a multinational retailer with additional stores in Peachtree City, Ga., and Brantford, Ontario, Canada. Aircraft Spruce sells plans and parts for 70 of the most popular homebuilt aircraft designs plus components for production aircraft and a variety of peripheral products, such as aviation clothing, charts and accessories.

"We've been holding the fly-ins for about nine years, and we always have a great turnout," Irwin commented. "It's become more than just a vehicle for sales. We've made plenty of friends in he business, and our fly-in weekend sale has become something of an event in Southern California. This year, we had something like 400 people browsing through the outside and inside displays. It's a chance for us to meet new customers and encourage those who've been thinking about coming to see us but just needed a little more incentive.
...we had 400 people browsing through the outside and inside displays. It's a chance for us to...encourage those who've been thinking about coming to see us but just needed a little more incentive.
"We have some kind of a major sale every year at all three locations, usually in conjunction with an Airport Day. That didn't work out with Corona's Airportfest this year, but we still held the event as our Customer Appreciation Day," said Irwin. "We're hoping to put the two together again next year."

Irwin explains that he tries to offer price reductions during the show. "We lower prices on practically everything we sell, and even arrange with the manufacturers to offer rebate programs on some items that are sold on a fixed-price basis." Aircraft Spruce has earned a reputation as a one-stop shop in all three of its locations, and that's especially true during the annual West Coast Super Sale and Fly-In. It has taken on the image of a kind of aviation super-store.

Because of his success, Irwin has found ways to give back to the aviation community. He's a regular supporter of the annual Oshkosh AirVenture, sponsoring the Great Cross Country Air Race, the Young Eagles Program and the Aircraft Spruce Design Competition. In 1995, he was presented with the President's Award For Outstanding Service to Sport Aviation by EAA president Tom Poberezny. Irwin is an active multi-engine instrument pilot with 4,000 hours in a variety of aircraft, most recently, his Blackhawk-conversion Cessna 425 Conquest 1.




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