Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Banks NAPA will be moving staff and inventory to its Forest Grove location at the end of August.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Ralph Puncochar of Hillsboro drives his John Deere tractor at Sunset Speedway during the Banks BBQ in 2018. The local Sunset Auto Parts, also known as Banks NAPA, has sponsored the event in the past.NAPA Auto Parts in Banks is closing.

The store located on Main Street at the north end of Banks will cease operation at the end of the day on Aug. 31. It will be moving all employees and inventory to its larger store location, eight miles away, in Forest Grove.

Sunset Auto Parts general manager Jason Hennig said the store — which is one of the company's 11 locations — is shutting down due primarily to building maintenance and structural problems.

In a statement on the Banks Community Facebook page, Hennig cited the building's inadequate frame, a sagging subfloor, dilipidated roof and an overall "unsafe" environment as the primary motivation for the closure.

"I've got some really good people in Banks that I think deserve a better atmosphere to work in," Hennig said. "I thought by combining the two teams into one bigger, nicer building, it could be.

"We did the same thing at the coast with our Warrenton and Astoria stores, and it's been a very positive thing. We're thinking it can have the same effect here."

Hennig was quick to point out the company's affection for the people and community of Banks, and he acknowledged that from a business standpoint, the store was relatively successful. But due to the hypothetical cost of investing in a new building, the property would outweigh the store's earning potential, therefore nipping that potential option in the bud.

The general manager said deliveries will continue to Banks and surrounding areas for commercial customers, and the Forest Grove store is hoping to build a more stout delivery infrastructure that could support an even bigger commercial base.

"Everything is coming over," he said. "And in fact we may end up adding even more resources, because we want to have a real robust delivery service in Banks."

An obvious question in today's landscape is whether the pandemic had an effect on the business and if it played a role in the decision to close the Banks store. Hennig said that's not the case, and in fact, NAPA's business has done quite well during these troubling times.

"We've been one of the lucky few that haven't really been affected," Hennig said. "It's just a coincidence that this is happening at this time."

Lastly, Hennig wants the people of Banks to know that Sunset Auto Parts is intent upon supporting local community teams and events, and he encouraged residents to continue to inform the store of their needs. In the past, the Banks parts store has contributed and helped with the Banks BBQ, Truck & Tractor Pull and various sports teams, and Hennig hopes to continue with that despite the store consolidating with its Forest Grove counterpart.

"It's important to us to keep tabs on the people who support us," Hennig said. "We're a family-owned company, opposed to a corporate chain like our competitors, and it's because of that we want to keep connected with the local community, because we rely on them to keep us going."

Ultimately, Hennig sees the move as a positive, and he hopes that the Banks community will see it that way as well.

"It's bittersweet, because on one hand, I think this might be good for the employees and the company, but I know there's probably going to be a few local people that will be put off," he said. "We're hoping to minimize that and maybe make up for it some other ways."

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