Workers in August make changes to the outside of the former Thriftway building in Seaside. The building will become the new home of the expanded Seaside NAPA store later this month.

Auto parts store revs up Seaside operation with bigger store

            SEASIDE — A former grocery store will soon be home to the expanded NAPA store, and Seaside’s mayor is thrilled to have the rundown building back in racing form.

            “It’s a real cleanup of a vacant building,” said Mayor Don Larson. “When you have vacant buildings, they tend to add more mess or debris or collection of things you don’t want, so we’re absolutely excited to see this major improvement of a building that has, over the years, been an outstanding local grocery store … but since that time has had several different tenants.”

            The back of the building abuts Roosevelt and the parking lot empties onto South Holladay between Avenues I and J.

            Sam Amato, general manager of Sunset Auto Parts, the company that bought the store, said the new building has about 16,000 square feet of space. The current store, just a few blocks down the street at 420 S. Roosevelt Dr., has about 5,000 square feet, he said.

            The new store will use about 9,000 square feet for the sales floor and the rest will be used for warehousing, Amato said.

            More square feet means more jobs too.

            “We’ve been bringing a few people on and doing a little bit of training now,” Amato said. “We’ll probably be hiring a couple more. We’ve brought a few people on in the past couple of months and done some training in the old store.”

            Sunset plans to move into the new store on Sept. 21 and reopen on Sept. 23, barring any problems.

            The expanded store will make room for new products, Amato said. Specifically, the heavy-duty product line, the marine line, lawn and garden and tools and equipment are among those that will be expanded.

            The deal for the new building came together quickly, Amato said. The company made the agreement in mid-May. “They started the first of June, tearing the building apart.”

            The company has been leasing its current location, and owning an expanded property just made more sense, he said.

            “The opportunity to own this other building and property vs. renting was much more inviting.”

            Sunset is using local contractors to renovate the building. With the remodeling of the building and the upgrades inside, the project is about $500,000, Amato said.

            “We’re excited about being here,” Amato said. “Service is our game.”

            Larson hopes the revitalization of the old store will be contagious.

            “It’s just going to be a new, bright, cleaned up spot,” he said. “What I’ve found through my years of being mayor and being on the council is, that when somebody starts a cleanup in one area, it seems to (make other people say), ‘Hey, I think I should maybe take a look at what I have,’ and that’s what I like.”

            Sunset Auto Parts owns 11 NAPA stores including locations in Astoria, Seaview, Longview and Scappoose.

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