A new NAPA Auto Parts store opened Oct. 17 in Solon Springs. The independent business is owned by Scott O’Brien, a 2009 Solon Springs High School graduate.

“We just thought the area needed it,” he said.

Business has been steady since day one at the shop along O’Brien Parkway just off U.S. Highway 53.

“All we did was turn the open sign on,” O’Brien said.

In addition to parts for cars, trucks, trailers, towing and small engines, the store offers hydraulic hoses and fittings, Craftsman hand tools, limited parts and accessories for snowmobiles, ATVs and lawn and garden equipment, and a tire machine and spin balancer on-site.

One unique item offered at the Solon Springs NAPA is raw steel in full, 20-foot lengths.

“I saw the need for just some channel, flat bar, angle iron, round stock,” O’Brien said.

A welder with Industrial Welders and Machinists in Duluth before opening his own business, O'Brien had to drive all the way to Proctor or Ashland to get full length pieces of steel in the past. Now, they’ll be available in Solon Springs.

Owner Scott O'Brien stands outside the Solon Springs NAPA Auto Parts store Tuesday, Oct. 22. The business had a soft opening Oct. 17 and customers have been dropping by steadily ever since, O'Brien said. An open house for the new business takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 2. (Maria Lockwood / mlockwood@superiortelegram.com)
Owner Scott O'Brien stands outside the Solon Springs NAPA Auto Parts store Tuesday, Oct. 22. The business had a soft opening Oct. 17 and customers have been dropping by steadily ever since, O'Brien said. An open house for the new business takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 2. (Maria Lockwood / mlockwood@superiortelegram.com)

The store is independently owned, as are a majority of the more than 6,500 NAPA stores nationwide.

“It’s different from the other NAPAs,” said Jason Viska, territory sales manager. “We’re all the same, but you’re buying from an individual, part of the community.”

You’re buying from O’Brien, his wife or his father, Pat, Viska said.

The walls for the 2,400-square-foot building went up in August. Frank Westman of Solon Springs stopped by Tuesday, Oct. 22, to see the finished store.

The Solon Springs NAPA will hold an open house Nov. 2 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visitors can tour the store, have lunch and enter their name to win Packers-Vikings tickets, a 50-inch smart TV, gift cards and more. O’Brien plans to hold a grand opening in the spring in conjunction with a fundraiser for the Solon Springs Volunteer Fire Department.

The Solon Springs NAPA is located at 11172 S. O’Brien Parkway. It’s open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.