Napa employees standing in front of Napa Auto Parts

The Right Stuff

New Kenmount NAPA shop has found the right location; now the goal is to keep providing ‘the right part, to the right people, in the right place, at the right time’

By Kristen Lipscombe

Teamwork is the absolute key to success for staff members at NAPA Kenmount in St. John’s, Nfld.

After all, it wasn’t long ago that the Kenmount location didn’t exist at all. The brand-new member of the NAPA Auto Parts family represents the coming together of two separate corporate franchises, one formerly nestled on Freshwater Road in St. John’s and another shop that had been located just down the road on Commonwealth Avenue in Mount Peral, Nfld.

“This used to be a furniture mart warehouse… and it was up for lease,” said shop manager Andrew Coady of the new site, which is conveniently nestled between the two former locations in order to serve all of the company’s loyal customers.

The two older NAPA shops shut down, and the new store opened its doors, all between May and June of last year – right in the midst of the pandemic that rocked the world to its core.

“It was just a big challenge because of COVID; that threw some wrenches into it,” Coady said, “because when we were doing the move last (spring), you were limited to 10 people per building, you could only have so many people working there, and we weren’t able to get much help from the mainland.”

“Normally, when we close a store and move millions of dollars’ worth of inventory, you need extra help to do that, but we didn’t have that,” Coady said. “We had to do that on our own to the best of our abilities.”

Like many companies, after sending some workers off on furlough for a short time due to the pandemic, Coady was quickly able to bring his workers back on the payroll so that they could work together to open up their shiny new shop. 

“There was a lot of great teamwork and morale between the staff, and everybody working together, and helping out and pitching in and staying late and doing what was needed to get the job done,” he recalled.

In fact, when the NAPA “bosses” visited the new location last July, they were “blown away,” Coady said. “They couldn’t believe it was all done and that we were operating at full capacity in this ‘new normal.’ ”

NAPA Kenmount now proudly boasts 11 delivery vehicles, 10 drivers, a dispatcher, two parts pickers, a manager, an assistant manager, a warehouse supervisor, about a half dozen auto parts specialists working the counters, two parts handlers, a shipping and receiving clerk, extra storage capacity to better need client needs, a new and improved delivery management system, and yes – plenty of happy and satisfied customers.

And for this proud NAPA team, “servicing customers” is what it’s all about, day in and day out, at every location, said Coady, who with more than three decades of management experience oversees the province’s three corporate NAPA stores and enjoys mentoring employees to be the best that they can be for those they serve.

“It’s about providing the right part, to the right people, in the right place, at the right time,” he said, adding it doesn’t matter whether their customers are retailers, garages, car dealerships or even do-it-yourself backyard mechanics. 

“It’s being there when they need us.”

Coady is extremely impressed with the resilience and reliability of the team he is leading, through the pandemic and beyond, and can’t wait to create even more business efficiencies with the talent he has on the NAPA staff. “We’ve got a great crew – and that’s going to be the key to moving ahead in the future.”

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