If you haven’t been to NAPA lately, then you haven’t been to NAPA.
Lots of changes have taken place there in the past couple of months.
Although the store, located just off Rt. 219 above Marlinton, has helped supply the automotive needs of the community for several years, the December 17, 2014 acquisition of the franchise by Wilson Brothers Auto Parts has kicked up the service and doubled the inventory.
Store manager Jeff Hill, of Hillsboro, is no stranger to the county. He and his family have lived here for several years, and he is pro-active in the community and in the schools.
Hill previously worked for Fisher’s Auto Parts in Lewisburg, where the job included deliveries to customers in Pocahontas County.
Hill was no stranger to Wilson Brothers, either. He has known the family for 45 years.
“When I was approached about managing the store, there were two reasons that I wanted to get involved, and neither of them was money,” Hill said. “For fifteen years, I have wanted to serve the citizens of Pocahontas County – in this NAPA store – and, there was a click between me and Steve [Wilson].”
Hill said great strides have been made at the NAPA store in the past 60 days, and “there are a lot more strides to do.”
When the company bought the store, there was not much inventory.
“Since the first of January, in the month of January, we doubled the inventory,” he said. “We doubled the inventory, and now we are in excess. This is typically the slow time of the year for auto parts, but there is a need for seasonal items, and we have seasonal items. NAPA has the inventory available. We may not have everything you need, but we can order it.”
And there is a quick turn-around from order-to-delivery, as stock trucks travel from Charleston to the store, making deliveries every night.
Hill is proud of the well-stocked shelves, but his emphasis is on customer service.
“Our first concentration was to build customer confidence in the store again,” Hill said. “You do that with good inventory and good service.”
Hill received his business degree from Concord College in 1987, and that degree coupled with a strong work ethic makes him a perfect choice for the managerial position at NAPA.
“My work ethic is, I like to be in the store thirty minutes before the store opens to check the orders and deliveries,” Hill said.
He also spent five weeks “learning the NAPA way of doing things.”
“We are ready to meet the automotive needs of the community.”
Now that the interior is nearing completion, Hill is looking forward to tackling the exterior.
“When the weather breaks, there will be exterior improvements made, as well,” he said. “I like to run a clean, orderly ship.”
His goal is to have everything done by Memorial Day.
“I also want to have Cruise-ins,” Hill said. “Saturday afternoon Car Shows.”
The store maintained its original staff, plus one, in addition to the ship’s new captain.
The store also has three delivery vehicles at the ready to respond to its customers’ needs.
Hill has found his dream job.
“This is my last stop,” he said.
The Marlinton store is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
Its sister store in Bartow is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
Wilson Brothers Auto Parts has stores in Union, Ronceverte, White Sulphur Springs, Rich Creek, Virginia, Christiansburg, Virginia, Covington, Virginia, and, now, Marlinton and Bartow.
Jaynell Graham may be contacted at email@example.com