Jessica Gatlin, Store Manager’s Story

Jessica Gatlin

Introducing Jessica Gatlin–Store Manager, Harry Potter fanatic, snowboarder. 

If you’ve taken even the slightest perusal of the NAPA team, you notice something the people have in common: motivation, mobility, and vibrancy. We call that Bleedin’ Blue.   

Jessica, interestingly enough, started her NAPA voyage from behind enemy lines.   

I actually started at a competitor, doing a very basic supervisor position, and I saw an advertisement for an opening at NAPA. NAPA was a company that I was interested in; I was looking for a career change. So I applied and they reached out to me not even 24 hours later. I was interviewed and hired on the spot and began my career with NAPA Sales. 

 Her motivation to change her life was duly noted by NAPA.  

Since I had a lot of customer service and retail in my background, they put me as the Retail Coordinator. I did a lot with managing the retail customers, keeping the store clean – and I was really good at that. I also took on the Safety Coordinator role, and about three months into working for NAPA, the manager position opened up in my store. I was really motivated and enjoyed working there, and the manager at the time saw that. He asked if that would be something I was interested in doing and I went for it. I really enjoyed the people I worked with and was excited to make the move. I began that journey and was the Assistant at that location for about three years and was recently—in July—promoted to Store Manager. 

 NAPA has an eye for finding the best in their employees and fostering them to be the very best they can be—and that’s not limited to management roles. Jessica works with her team to get the very best result possible.  

“Everybody needs each other here,” Jessica acknowledges.  

Everybody from the Store Managers to the Assistants to the Counters to the Drivers—we all need to work together cohesively to have a successful store. Without the Counter people, there wouldn’t be any deliveries; without the Delivery Drivers, we wouldn’t be able to put the parts out; without a leader, things kind of crumble and decay – there’s no leadership, there’s no goals to work towards, it’s kind of hard to keep things out of chaos. I couldn’t do what I do without my Assistant, without my Counter Reps, or without my Drivers.  

Even with this avalanche of support, it’s up to managers to keep an eagle eye out to what needs work and how to find the fix.  

I identify problem areas in the storeareas we can improve upon, what we can do to make us more successful. I delegate those tasks to somebody I feel would be interested in taking it on or would be good at doing it. Delegating tasks makes people feel both useful and productive, but also makes them feel a sense of importance from the store, and I think that helps mold the team morale. 

Jessica describes the atmosphere at her Apple Valley store as a positive place to be.  

My Counter people are very dedicated. I have people who will go through great lengths to help you find what you’re looking for, whether from us or from a competitor. I know the customers really appreciate that. The Drivers have a sense of urgency and are part of the team, so they know that time is money in this industry and the faster we can get things out to people, the happier they are, and the happier their customer is. 

But what helps her team keep the focus going? What helps them find new ways to overcome challenges?  

If you kind of go at it with a negative attitude and look at it completely overwhelmed, it’s stressful and you may not get to the end goal. But by creating a playful, positive atmosphere, I think team members are able to take on problems with a different viewpoint that changes the outcome. 

It’s important for positions such as Jessica’s to work towards the best outcome for the store, but here at NAPA, we know that it’s not just about the numbers. In stores all over the country, we endeavor to make our employees feel heard and let them experiment with new techniques as they see fit. Jessica remarks about how NAPA has empowered her:  

I have always felt very appreciated and productive here at NAPA because I know there’s always something to do. There’s always something to improve. NAPA really gives you a blank canvas and the tools to accomplish what you need to accomplish, but they don’t tell you how to do it. You’re able to build your own store based on what you think would be successful and go from there. It’s always given me a high sense of accomplishment because I come up with these ideas, see them put into place, and I get to watch the success come from them. I really enjoy working for this company because they give you freedom, and I have worked with competitors who don’t give you the freedom to build your own empire. 

Are you feeling the call of NAPA’s freedom? Take a look at our Careers site and see how you can be part of the NAPA family!