MANAGER, JOSH WEST, EMPLOYEE KIM RICHARDSON FROM THE MINTO STORE.

The doors are open

NAPA Auto Parts shops in Chipman and Minto aim to ensure each and every customer comes and leaves happy  

If Paul Mckenelley doesn’t have the part you’re looking for in either of his two NAPA Auto Parts shops in small-town New Brunswick, you can bet he and his employees will do their very best to track down whatever it is you’re looking for and get it in your hands as quickly as possible.

“If you want something that’s odd, we’ll do our best to get it to you at a reasonable rate and supply it you,” said Mckenelley, who owns both Minto Auto Supplies and, just a quick drive down the road, A-1 Auto Supplies in Chipman, N.B., along with his wife Trila.

“We’re a small market, so we try not to say ‘no,’ to anybody,”  Mckenelley said of his attentive and committed customer service. “There’s no such thing as ‘you can’t get it.’ ”

OWNER, PAUL MCKENELLEY, AND EMPLOYEES SUSAN MURRAY AND JAKE CRAWFORD AT THE CHIPMAN NAPA STORE.
OWNER, PAUL MCKENELLEY, AND EMPLOYEES SUSAN MURRAY AND JAKE CRAWFORD AT THE CHIPMAN NAPA STORE.

“We just try to treat everybody fairly; try to treat all the customers the same,” Mckenelley added. “It doesn’t matter who you are; if you’re walking through our door, then we want you to feel like you’re appreciated.”

From batteries and brake pads, to alternators and rotors, with quick access to upwards of 500,000 quality parts, both of Mckenelley’s well-stocked shops cater mostly to the automotive industry, “but we also sell some industrial stuff, like heavy-duty equipment parts, and we also do hydraulics.”

That means that both the Chipman and Minto NAPA Auto Parts locations can help you find the tools and parts you may need for pretty much any mechanical job, including for both marine and farming equipment.

And there’s no doubt Mckenelley knows what he’s talking about. He’s been working in the business since 1989, when he first got hired on at age 25 by then-owners Charles Main to work in his hometown Minto shop. 

“I just enjoyed getting up and coming to work,” Mckenelley said of why he has stuck with the NAPA Auto Parts shops for more than three decades now. “When I started in ’89, I didn’t know if I’d like it or not, but once I learned about vehicles and cars and how things are done, it’s just a good job. You get to meet a lot of people.”

He bounced back and forth between the two locations a bit over the course of the career, eventually in 2007 buying the Minto location, and then in 2018 purchasing the Chipman location, which now serves as his home base. He bought both shops off Ron Bustard.

“The first (purchase) was just timing. The gentleman that owned it at the time told me if I ever wanted to purchase, he was willing to sell, and I decided it was time to take that step, take that chance,” Mckenelley said.

“And then when Chipman came up for sale, it was only 20 minutes away, and I thought there’s another opportunity,” he said, adding “the store had good numbers and was doing well, so I tried it again.” Both shops staff local workers who grew up in the area, just like Mckenelley.

Mckenelly finds running the two NAPA shops both challenging and rewarding. The industry itself, he said, has changed quite a bit over the years, with vehicles expanding beyond just the big major North American brands to include more foreign automobiles and most recently, hybrid models and electric vehicles. 

“More change is coming,” he said, adding learning the newest tricks of the auto trade is great for both himself and his staff members, because it creates a positive learning environment for employees, while also ensuring his two shops can meet the changing needs of their loyal customers.

“We try to keep everybody that comes through the door happy when they come in, and happy when they leave,” Mckenelly said.

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