NAPA Carbonear team works together to ensure top-notch customer service – every timeBy Kristen Lipscombe
The humble owner and manager of the NAPA Auto Parts Store nestled in the tiny community of Carbonear, N.L., is quick to point to his employees as being the true heartbeat of his quickly growing business.
“I definitely need to express gratitude for the team that I have, and the hard work that they do,” Kris Lomond, who assumed full ownership of the Carbonear location April 1, said of his eight loyal eight staff members, who have “followed me through this newest venture with the ownership.”
“I appreciate what they do every day to make it successful,” said Lomond, who despite acknowledging the dedication of the positive community he’s helped create at his NAPA location, doesn’t as easily highlight his own accomplishments, which include a boatload of experience and expertise in the business – two decades worth, in fact.
“It was a long time coming,” Lomond said of gaining full ownership of the Carbonear shop, which offers both Auto Pro and Auto Care banner programs under NAPA. “This is my 20th year and I worked in the St. John’s location for eight years, and I always wanted a store of my own.”
“The store in Carbonear, the original owner was retiring and wanted to sell, so working with the VP of the corporation, we slowly took over that store – it’s called progressive ownership, like a partnership, until it was time to buy it out,” Lomond explained.
And that’s exactly what the ambitious owner-operator did over a period of 11 years, while creating a committed workforce in the Carbonear store, which now operates under the company name E. & K. Lomond Auto Solutions, Inc. The E represents his daughter, Emma, and the K recognizes his son, Kole, another testament to the new NAPA owner’s appreciation for the people who inspire him both professionally and personally. That includes his partner, Dusty Mortensen. She has been his moral support through the many long hours and late evenings to help Lomond achieve his NAPA career goal.
Lomond is proud to represent NAPA in Carbonear, a tight-knit community with a population of about 5,000 people, located on the Avalon Peninsula and overlooking the west side of Conception Bay.
“Carbonear, the community, they call it the hub of the bay,” Lomond explained, “and it’s got all the major infrastructure for the area, so it brings a lot of traffic, and there’s a decent population from the neighbouring communities to draw from.”
With that knowledge in mind, and his natural ability to build and maintain strong relationships, Lomond does everything he can to connect with the community, visiting customers to ensure they know that his NAPA store will do whatever it takes to get the parts and supplies they need to keep their own automotive businesses running smoothly.
“I have good relationships with all of my customers, and build on that,” Lomond said. “We’re known for solving problems.”
“They know that they can count on us, especially for things that are out of the ordinary,” he said. “We get the job done.”
According to the NAPA website, E & K. Lomond Auto Solutions, Inc., located at 64 Powell Dr., “stocks everything you need to repair or maintain your car or truck.
“Take advantage of our large selection of brake pads and rotors, batteries, alternators, starters and 50,000 other quality parts,” the description reads. “We get all you need to do the job including tools and equipment, heavy duty, marine and farming parts or equipment.
Come see us in store to chat with our knowledgeable experts or reserve your parts online.”
Lomond does everything he can to keep those promises to his customers; “whatever is required,” whether it’s working front-of-shop, networking within surrounding communities, and of course, managing all of the ins, outs, comings and goings of the shop.
“I can do just about anything that needs to be done. I’ve been doing it a long time, so I’m familiar with all aspects of the business,” said Lomond, who also worked in the automotive section at Sears based in Toronto for several years, but knew he wanted to raise his family back home in Newfoundland.
His employees couldn’t agree more with Lomond’s abilities, and his attitude toward creating a welcoming and warm workplace for staff members and customers alike.
Ashley Adams, a sales representative at NAPA Carbonear who has worked there for nine years and does everything from delivery to office management, told Auto and Trucking Atlantic that Lomond “couldn’t get any better” as a boss, adding she’s “pretty stoked” that he’s become full owner of the NAPA Auto Parts Store.
“Everyone who works there are all good team players; they’re easy to get along with,” Adams said. “The customers are amazing, and all of our garages are really supportive.”
What sets the NAPA location apart from other shops, Adams said, is the quality of customer service that they offer to their customers. “We go above and beyond to try and help anybody in any situation that’s needed.”
Katrina Bradbury, another sales specialist who spends a lot of time in the storefront and has been at the NAPA store for five years, concurs “It’s a great place to work,” with the right combination of fast-paced challenges among a team that works together to get the job done.
“We’re like a family there,” Bradbury said. “We carry on with each other and we support each other, too, when we need the extra help. Everyone pulls their own weight.”
Bradbury said NAPA Carbonear customers know exactly what to expect when they walk through the store doors.
She, too, is excited for Lomond. “He deserves it,” Bradbury said, echoing her colleague. “He’s a great boss. He goes above and beyond for everyone.”
Lomond has instilled that work ethic in all of his employees, she said, a get-it-done attitude that has quickly become the shop’s underlying philosophy.
“We don’t say ‘no,’” Bradbury said. “If we can’t find it, we’re going to find a way to get it.”
“We put in the work, and we give you service with a smile,” she said.
And that’s exactly the workplace culture that Lomond has worked hard to instill among his small but mighty NAPA team.
“One of the things that we’ve done here over the years is increase the inventory levels much more than our competitors so that we have the right part, at the right place at the right time,” Lomond said, pointing to a traditional NAPA slogan.
“We’re here to solve problems and we’ll never say ‘no,’” Lomond said, adding despite the fact that it takes more time to get parts shipped from NAPA’s warehouse in Moncton to Newfoundland and Labrador, “we don’t back down from a challenge.”
“Whatever they may need, we will find it for them,” Lomond said. “And the staff, the team, are all dialled in with that philosophy.” “Our regular customers know that they can just call us, and we’ll do the leg work, and we’ll find what they’re looking for, every time.”