NAPA Auto Parts store moves to larger building
CARIBOU, Maine — Caribou’s NAPA Auto Parts shop, formerly located on Bennett Drive, moved to a new building on the Access Highway, next to the Department of Motor Vehicles, on Dec. 6.
According to store manager Robbie Burby, the building was constructed specifically for the expanded shop and is about 7,000 square feet, or twice the size of the old building.
Burby said the old building had been on Bennett Drive for decades and, until recently, was known as “Clukey’s Auto Supply.”
Clukey’s, a family-run business, was bought out by NAPA in October of 2015. One year later, Coastal Auto Parts, Inc., another family-owned business based in Ellsworth, purchased the store from NAPA. Coastal Auto now owns and operates 19 stores in Maine with the NAPA Auto name.
Burby said the new building was in the works for about a year and that it took about “four or five months to build.” The new construction project, according to him, led many in Caribou to believe that it was for a new business.
“A lot of people didn’t realize that NAPA was already here,” he said. “So they thought it was a new venture altogether.”
The manager said the decision to move was inspired by the need for a larger facility that would allow for more inventory to “better take care of the customers.”
So far, Burby said “a lot of people” have come to the store and that the new location “is going to be great” for him and the eight other crew members.
“We’ve got the same good crew,” he said, “and hopefully we’ll be able to add some more people soon.”
The expanded shop offers snowmobile gear, auto accessories, car seat covers, numerous oil types, bluetooth accessories, and a plethora of car parts. Burby said the inventory is updating all the time and that the new building is “much better for organization.”
“We have room to offer a wider variety of products,” he said, “and better vehicle coverage with more shelf room for those products.”
As manager, Burby wears several hats throughout the day, and could be doing anything from handling customers to taking inventory, sending invoices, or installing wiper blades.
“Unfortunately we don’t have the facility or setup to change any components other than wiper blades,” Burby said. “We do test batteries, starters, and alternators, which is a big help to folks when they need to determine what part they need.”
Burby has been with NAPA since 1999, and worked at the Bennett Drive business for about five years, and is happy to be once again be working for a family-owned company.
“The Clukey family built a wonderful business,” he said. “The Boles family (who own Coastal Auto Parts, Inc.) live in Maine and have a part in all our day to day operations.”