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NAPA Auto Parts changes hands

Jul 27, 2023

Brad Craig, left, turned NAPA Auto Parts over to Bud and Amy Strickland on June 1. Bud Strickland said he plans for the business to stay the same, continuing its great customer service and increasing inventory.

NAPA Auto Parts, 810 U.S. 50, has changed hands after more than 50 years in the Craig family. After largely being owned and operated by Brad Craig, it was purchased June 1 by Bud and Amy Strickland.

Craig is originally from Pender, Nebraska. When his family became aware the store in Colorado was for sale they made the deal with Charles and Laura Hague and moved in the winter of 1971, when Craig was 21 years old.

In 1984, Craig took over the business, which included Salida Auto Parts. Back then, there were three different company buildings on First street between F and G streets, he said.

In 1998, Salida Auto Parts moved to the location on U.S. 50, and the same year, they set up their Buena Vista location.

“In so many cases, parts-people are standing at a computer,” Craig said, relying on the information the technology provides. “My goal is to always hire professional parts-people who can help you in more ways than that.

“I got a lot of pleasure in having professionals actually working for us and giving the community what they wanted.”

Craig had been a longtime customer of Strickland at NAPA’s mother company, Genuine Parts Company, where Strickland worked for 13 years.

Strickland has lived in Elizabeth for the last 24 years and currently lives in Nathrop. He has worked 15 years at insurance claims and 18 years in after-market automotive sales. He said he is looking forward to living in the mountains and not being on the Front Range anymore, plus getting to be a small business owner. Strickland’s hobbies include golf and UTVing.

“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long, long, long, long time. The situation finally presented itself,” he said.

“It was time to leave corporate America and go out on my own,” Strickland said, and his plans involve increasing the shop’s inventory and continuing the excellent service.

“I’m not going to change the business,” he said. “I know all of these customers and I know all of these employees. I’m a small-town person and I support the community.”

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