‘Treat people like you like to be treated’

Deckers of NAPA Auto Parts in Clarenville embrace customers and employees as family

By Kristen Lipscombe

Whether it’s their customers or employees, the owners of NAPA Auto Parts in Clarenville, Nfld., are always sure to treat everyone like family.

“The golden rule I like to always use is ‘treat people like you like to be treated,’ ” said Rex Decker, who runs the warm and welcoming shop nestled on the heart of Newfoundland’s east coast alongside wife Carole Decker and their two sons, Grant Decker and Andrew Decker.

“Our hours may be on the door, but we’ve never closed,” Rex said, explaining that along with loyal customers that include local garages and do-it-yourselfers, the Deckers also have many long-time employees who have been working at the NAPA Auto Parts store since they first took it over in 2005.

“There was an old NAPA store and… the previous owner was ready to retire,” Rex recalled. “He was willing to sell and we were willing to buy and NAPA wanted a new store, so we built a new store in 2004.” The Deckers kept growing their family business, increasing shop size from 5,000 square-feet to double that size at 10,000 square-feet in 2012, then adding a drive-thru window during the pandemic, which is still used and has become a popular feature at the NAPA shop.

Their employees have been around just as long. “Nobody seems to want to leave,” Rex said.

“We’ve got a good staff,” Carole added. “We’ve basically held on to the same staff since Day One.”

Before that, Rex and Carole worked at the local General Motors dealership, with him working as parts manager and her as office assistant. Their sons have quite seamlessly followed in their footsteps at the NAPA store located on Manitoba Drive, with Grant focused on dealing with customers and Andrew running the office.

Grant agreed that the Decker crew likes to get to know their customers well, offering friendly service that’s also effective and efficient. “Everybody’s moving to online and phones, and we’re more hands-on than a lot of places.”

And whether you’re a hobby mechanic, heavy-duty operator or anything in between, NAPA Auto Parts in Clarenville offers more than 50,000 quality parts that will help you get the job done. “Our service would be our Number one thing,” Grant said.

In addition to building strong relationships with customers and employees alike, the Deckers themselves are all pretty close-knit, too. “You’ve got to be close and have a good relationship to be able to work together, which has never been a problem,” Grant said.

“We keep business, business and personal, personal,” Carole said with a chuckle, adding that in all seriousness, “our sons are really good to work with.” And now that Rex and Carole are semi-retired, the fact that their two boys have slid into their old roles means they can enjoy more time away from work.

“Both of them have an interest in it, which is a big plus for us,” Rex said. “It gives us free time.”

Grant said he and Andrew really do love what they do. “I get up in the morning and always look forward to coming to work,” he said. “It’s enjoyable and the people we work with make it that way.”

“We act like employees ourselves,” Carole added. “When you spend most of your day with them, yes they become family members.”

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