NAPA: Go-to guy retires

April 2016 Posted in Business, People
Carroll Ashenfelter and Eric Stroup celebrate Carroll’s retirement from NAPA after 49 years.

Carroll Ashenfelter and Eric Stroup celebrate Carroll’s retirement from NAPA after 49 years.

By Dixon Bledsoe

How many people are around who have been with the same company for 49 years?

How many companies keep people for 49 years without layoffs or downsizing? 

Easy answer – Carroll Ashenfelter and NAPA.

Ashenfelter started with NAPA in 1967 in Condon, Ore., where his father owned the local NAPA store, the General Motors Dealership, the appliance store, and the bus garage. Carroll worked at the auto parts store but moved to Silverton in 1981 because it was a good place to raise kids.

He has two daughters, Shanna and Lara, and a son, Vince, who has worked at the Silverton NAPA store for many years. Ashenfelter and his wife, Debby, celebrate their 20th anniversary this year.

When Eric and Norma Stroup bought the NAPA store in 1992, there were three people working there – the two owners and Carroll Ashenfelter. Eric and Carroll worked the counter, and the later trained the former. He has worked all over the store and is the consummate “generalist” – he can do everything. He has 35 years at the Silverton store and retired this month after serving a grateful public.

“In all the years I have known Carroll, I truly believe I have never seen him get mad. He has an amazing ability to please people. He is not wired like the rest of us and it’s just weird,” Eric says with a smile.  

Norma laughs and adds, “He would give away the store if it made everyone happy. He is a definite problem-solver and the go-to guy.”

Ashenfelter is who local farmers would call in the middle of the night during peak seasons when a combine broke down and needed a hydraulic hose made.

“He is our first responder and is without a doubt, the most dependable person I have ever worked with,” Eric said. “He is reliable, opens every day for us, and handles all the alarm calls. He doesn’t hesitate to do what most people would never think of – hand out his private number and encourage customers to use it. They usually did and he was our after-hours guy.”

At 69, Carroll is ready to take it easy and enjoy his three kids, six grandchildren (seventh is on the way), and three great grandchildren. Maybe play some tennis, as he is accomplished enough at that sport to have played in competitive tournaments, give lessons and help coach at the high school. But NAPA wasn’t  quite ready for the day when a guy who, Eric Stroup said, work rings around people less than half his age, hung up his keys, folded his NAPA shirt, and headed off into the carburetor sunset. Nearly half a century with one company, 35 years at one store, thousands of satisfied clients, and nary a bad day. Imagine that. 

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.