An interview with Larry Phelps, owner of Art's Auto Parts, 1616 S. Pacific Highway, Long Beach, Wash. (360) 642-3765

The business has been in the community since 1963 when it was a branch of Kellogg Auto in Longview, Wash. From 1963 to 1966 it was situated a few blocks south, where Chico's Pizza stands. In 1976, Art Knudsen bought the shop. Phelps, the current owner, purchased the shop in 1986 after working for Knudsen part-time while attending school.

In addition to auto parts, Art's carries some marine and heavy equipment parts. It also has a heavy inventory of motorcycle batteries.

The hours are 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday.

What is your business philosophy?

"We go a little bit extra to help people. For example, after selling wiper blades, we'll install them for the customer."

What do you offer your customers?

"Competitive prices, quality parts, and a knowledgeable staff. Between the three of us who work here we have 100 years of auto parts experience."

What sort of volume does your shop do?

"The business is not as healthy as it used to be because of how cars have changed. Seventy-five percent of our business is walk-in trade."

What are your future plans?

"Maintaining our position as an independent dealer."

What is your busiest time of the year?

"In the past the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day accounted for about 50 percent of our business, but now business is more steady in the winter."

- Patty Hardin

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