To celebrate, owners Rick and Linda Wilson will hold a number of special events during August, including a car show on Aug. 11 that's expected to draw about 50 custom and restored auto entries competing for trophies, plaques and prizes in a wealth of categories. DJ "Mo" will be spinning CDs in house and the company will be offering an incredible 50-percent-off list for all NAPA products (excluding sale and promotional items). Entry to the car show can be obtained by simply providing canned food, toys or a cash donation to the Brentwood Regional Community Chest.
"This (50th anniversary) is a big deal for us and, with our daughters learning the business, we hope to keep it in the family for at least another 50 years," Rick said. He and Linda both agree the best thing about their business is its customers. "We love them, enjoy serving them and many have become fast friends over the years."
Tom Jetsen is a local customer who has been patronizing Brentwood Auto Parts since 1977. "There's nothing better on Earth than this store," Jestsen offered. "If they don't have it, they absolutely go out of their way trying to find it for you."
The store will hold a gala birthday party on Aug. 18 during which customers will be given employee discounts on all NAPA products, get to play games for fabulous prizes, stand in the Money Machine and grab all the flying bucks they can catch, then enter to win a $500 Grand Prize. Kat Country radio will be on hand to liven the event.
Brentwood NAPA Auto Parts has grown substantially since its original grand opening in 1957. Rick's parents, Melvin and Viola Wilson, opened the store on the southwest corner of Oak Street and Brentwood Boulevard, just east of the railroad tracks. "Us kids used to play around the tracks when we were growing up," Rick recalls.
Both of the original owners are now deceased, but Rick said his mother was a better auto parts business person than his dad. Melvin and Viola were divorced in 1962 and ownership of the store fell to Viola, who was killed in an automobile accident in the mid-1960s. The business became part of Viola's estate and Rick started buying out his five siblings, consummating a final buyout deal in 2005.
"Our business has changed dramatically over the years," Rick said. "Just think about it. We've gone from shocks to struts, from carburetors to fuel injection, from rear wheel drive to front wheel drive, and cars and trucks have added computers, sophisticated emissions systems and even global positioning. It's a whole different world from when dad and mom started the business."
With 28 employees, thousands of items in stock totaling roughly $1 million in inventory, the store keeps Rick and daughter Bethany O'Donnell on their toes. Business is conducted all over East County and as far away as Walnut Creek and Martinez. The company has five independent auto care businesses that use the NAPA logo and qualify as best customers. Seven trucks service company accounts that include the City of Brentwood and several trucking companies. Call 634-3952 to contact Brentwood NAPA Auto Parts or to sign up and get details about the car show and birthday party.