NAPA Auto Parts sells a wide range of products that includes vehicle replacement parts, fluids, tools, marine and RV parts, and more. Gerry Jackson and his son Ryley own the Cochrane franchise location. This year marks NAPA Auto Parts Cochrane’s 20th anniversary, and a celebration is planned to mark the occasion.
Gerry had been running a NAPA location in Saskatchewan since 1990. He, his brothers, and a business partner were looking to expand the business.
“We researched a few towns in Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan,” says Gerry. “Cochrane was an open market with lots of potential and a good projected growth rate for the town. We also had extended family here, so we decided to give it a try.”
Now, 20 years later, NAPA is an extension of the community and a highly rated business known for friendly, knowledgeable customer service.
The anniversary celebration will take place on June 2 and start at 10 am. There will be a tent erected so the event can go on rain or shine. A bouncy castle for kids, charity BBQ, and plenty of door crashers and specials (like $2.49 for a jug of washer fluid) are all part of the fun. Former Calgary Flames’ Jim Peplinski will be on hand for autographs. Food donations allow guests to enter draws for gift cards and baskets filled with goods from local businesses. Since on-site parking is tight, arrangements have been made for guests to park at the old Ford dealership lot nearby.
Ryley joined the family business in 2011, making him the third generation of NAPA businessmen alongside his father and grandfather.
“Well, we don’t have bread or milk – yet,” jokes Ryley, “but we are known as the one-stop shop for a lot of things. Hydraulics, industrial parts, RV items, electric bikes. Our priority is to provide the best customer service. That is paramount. We are very well known for our large inventory so we can have what customers want when they need it.”
NAPA Cochrane is also very well known for its robust support of the community, something Gerry has always been passionate about.
“We donate to minor hockey, the food bank, Cochrane & Area Humane Society, and more,” smiles Gerry. “A few years ago, we made a sizeable donation to the sports field at the local high school where Ryley had attended. I had seen firsthand the importance of keeping that field viable and making it safer for the kids to play sports on.”
For Gerry and Ryley, giving back is just as important – if not more – than sales. In addition to sponsorships, donations, and volunteer time, they also educate their customers to ensure the best possible outcomes.
“We know a lot of customers are migrating to online shopping from international resellers,” explains Gerry. “But people do not realize the damage this can cause to small businesses. Those companies do not give back to your local charities. It is expensive to, for example, register children in minor sports even after subsidies or bursaries are provided. It is local businesses that are helping to offset those costs.”
“Also,” Ryley adds, “buying local reduces risk. With NAPA having an international presence, our parts have reliable warranty. With an aftermarket item purchased online, that is not the case.”
As the 20-year celebration gets underway, for Gerry, it is bittersweet. After decades of helping customers at NAPA, he is retiring as Ryley takes over ownership. But he still has an eye on the future!
“When we built this building 20 years ago, we didn’t realize how successful we would be or how quickly the town would grow! We should have doubled the size,” he chuckles. “So, the future means retirement… but also seeing NAPA possibly expand. A second location is certainly a thought.”
As for Ryley, he concludes, “The next 20 years are business as usual, providing a large selection, outstanding service, and giving back. Just… with a new guy in the chair.”
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