SWIFT NAPA AUTO PARTS

SWIFT NAPA AUTO PARTS

Lake Isabella, Ridgecrest, Tehachapi, Mojave Contact Us
Article Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 12:00 am | Updated: 12:47 pm, Mon Nov 26, 2012.


'Get the Good Stuff' from the gang at your local NAPA Auto Parts store
Susan Barr - Kern Valley Sun
That well known jingle we’re all so familiar with really is fitting when it comes to the local NAPA Auto Parts store located right here in the valley. NAPA has always well-deservedly been known as a reliable neighborhood source for quality parts, accessories, paints, tools and supplies. While most folks know that they carry a complete line for cars, trucks and imports, not everyone is aware that they also stock everything you need for marine and farm equipment as well.
Penny Rivers, co-owner of the business along with her brother Jerry Swift have run the successful auto parts business since 1990 when their father, Jerry Swift, the original owner suffered a stroke. The two siblings took over the day-to-day operations of the business and really haven’t looked back since. That’s not surprising really since the two of them essentially grew up in the auto parts business as a result of their parents owning several other NAPA stores.
Considering the family history, the Swift’s have obviously had a wonderful working relationship with NAPA and believe that it is an ideal company to work with. Rivers explained that NAPA isn’t a franchise chain, ”We can stock anything we want. We choose to stock NAPA parts because they are the best.” Rivers and her team also appreciate the various NAPA programs that they can utilize such as inventory control and sales.
The Swift family, which has operated auto parts businesses in the valley for the past 30 years, currently own four NAPA’s. One in Lake Isabella, another in Tehachapi, one in Mojave and the last one being in Ridgecrest. Although the communities and customers differ, one thing is consistent, the excellent service and depth of knowledge that each employee brings to their respective NAPA store makes for many repeat customers.
Kirk Newfield, Assistant General Manager at the store, stated that the break down between walk-in customers and the local garages, ranches and businesses that maintain fleets is about 50/50. Either way, the local NAPA store has developed a loyal customer base, some of it going back generations. Newfield believes he knows what accounts for that, “We have always been about service, service, service. Knowledge and service - that’s what brings our customers back.”
Ed Miller, General Manager, is a 20-year veteran with NAPA and was hired by Jerry Swift Sr. back in 1982. “I started as a driver and worked my way up through the ranks and helped them to expand their stores. It’s just always been challenging, never boring. In the last three years alone we’ve added the two stores in Mojave and Tehachapi.” Miller routinely logs 60,000 miles a year traveling between the various stores overseeing their operations. He believes it’s not only the excellent auto parts they sell that makes their customers happy, but it’s also the little things that make a big difference. “We get a lot of female customers because they know that we’re happy to put windshield wipers on for them, or add a quart of oil if they need it.” Rivers added, “The first day it rains, you’ll see our guys out there standing in the rain putting them on. But they’re always glad to do it for the customers.”
Rivers was more than happy to praise her employees stating, “These guys are really knowledgeable. We have a lot of long term employees that have been with us for years. We offer all the advantages of working for a large corporation, but have the small mom and pop attitude so we can work with them if they need time off to honor their personal commitments.” She went on to add, “Several of our employees are ASE certified and for four out of the last five years, the Isabella NAPA store has received the acclaimed NAPA Five Star rating.” To receive that, the store must excel in customer service, sales growth, store presentation, wholesale market efforts and demonstrated commitment to ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) training and excellence. In addition, four managers in our corporation have achieved ASE Parts Specialist of the Year.”
Swift stated that another reason the Lake Isabella NAPA has such a devoted customer base is because patrons are aware of what the store does for the community. The local NAPA store has a long history of sponsoring youth sports like AYSO, Little League, football, cheerleading as well as FFA. Swift recalled looking for sponsorship when he was a high school student in Bishop. “It made a huge impact on me that businesses were willing to sponsor kids to help them achieve their dreams. I’ve never forgotten that and that’s why I feel it is so important to give back to the community that supports us.”
Monica Miller, bookeeper for the local NAPA added that the during the store’s annual Customer Appreciation Tool and Equipment Sale held on the first Wednesday of every August, “A local youth organization such as football or little league is invited to man the food booth and to charge what they want. The money that they make goes directly to their group.”
About the sale, Ed Miller added, “Everything in the store is up to 50 percent off and tools and equipment are often offered at cost. The sale gives our customers a chance to buy something that they have always wanted, but maybe couldn’t afford to get.”
Reflecting on the success of the family’s business Swift stated, “Our growth has allowed us to serve our customers even better. One advantage of having four stores is that we have access to each others inventory. At least two or three times a day, Kirk will meet midway with someone from another store. We have always been willing to go that extra mile to meet our customers needs.”
Customers are more than happy to agree with Swift on why they keep coming back. Tom Moore, owner of Sierra South Mt. Sports has been a regular customer of the local NAPA store for the better part of 20 years. Moore said, “During the summer, I have 12 vehicles, cars, vans and buses that are critical to my rafting business. NAPA is open seven days a week and that’s really important. If I have one of my buses go down, I know that NAPA can help us diagnose what the problem is and with their great delivery service, they’ll get us what we need fast.” Moore added, “ The whole staff are extremely knowledgeable and professional.”
Gary Gibson, owner of Gibson’s Garage in Bodfish is also another appreciative customer of the local NAPA store. “I’ve been a customer for a lot of years. I do general automotive repairs, as well as pretty much everything else. The quality of NAPA’s auto parts is great across the board, the prices are pretty good and so is the warranty, stated Gibson, “Most of their staff have been there a long time and you get great service.” He went on to add, “I enjoy dealing with all of the team over there.”
When asked what is on the horizon for NAPA, Rivers an Swift can’t say for sure. Should another store join the existing four, one thing is for certain, those customers too will be able to not only get the ‘good stuff’ but also the same excellent service and knowledge base that customers have come to rely on right here in the valley.
NAPA Auto Parts is located at 5113 Lake Isabella Blvd. and is open to serve all of your automotive needs 7:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Give them a call at (760) 379-3693. You’ll be glad you did.

SWIFT NAPA AUTO PARTS - LAKE ISABELLA RIDGECREST TEHACHAPI MOJAVE
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