Dickson Auto Parts Finds New Ways to Keep Growing

NAPA Auto Parts with the Dickson family.

When Ralph Dickson’s great-grandfather opened the family’s first retail store on Main St. in Gastonia, NC back in the 1930s, he was selling appliances rather than auto parts.

But a lot has changed since then. Fast-forward to the present, and he would be proud at the way the business has continued to prosper over the years. Since quickly pivoting to auto parts as their main focus, the intervening decades have seen the Dicksons expand to 20 total locations in the greater Charlotte area, including 17 retail stores, a warehouse, and two paint stores.

“I still hear the stories about my granddad and great-granddad,” Ralph says. “They would drive all the way down to Atlanta to pick up parts themselves. This was before there was even a NAPA warehouse up here.”

Like any business, hard work and a commitment to the customer have been key to the success they’re experiencing today. The Dicksons have built up a level of trust with their commercial customers, where quality products and responsive service are present with each and every interaction.

“Working with our customers, I enjoy seeing them grow,” Ralph explains. “Some get started with us when they’re a technician. Several go on to become a shop owner and eventually a successful shop owner. It’s cool to see that development over time and to support them getting there.”

Being an independent distributor for NAPA Auto Parts brings many benefits with regards to brand presence and bulk purchasing. But that doesn’t mean it’s always smooth sailing for owners like the Dicksons. Any market will bring competition. And in today’s world of ecommerce, customers have endless options when it comes to finding what they need.

This is where SouthState can help.

Through its flexible loan program with competitive rates, the bank allows Dickson Auto Parts to compete more aggressively in a crowded marketplace. In addition, SouthState offers tailored treasury services and revolving credit options geared toward better cash flow management and maximizing profitability.
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We want to show our clients how to maximize their interest savings, so they can put more profits to the bottom line.

Jon Roberson, SVP and NAPA Loan Program Manager at SouthState

“Our number one goal is client health,” says Jon Roberson, SVP and NAPA Loan Program Manager at SouthState. “It’s a very cash-flow intensive business, so we have to be mindful of how we structure each loan to meet our clients’ needs. We want to show our clients how to maximize their interest savings, so they can put more profits to the bottom line”.

Jon’s previous experience includes over 20 years in banking, 10 of which have been focused solely on independent NAPA store owners. He also served as General Manager of 14 NAPA Auto Parts stores himself, affording him a degree of insight and expertise around the Dicksons’ business that can make a serious difference. Coupled with SouthState’s focus on creative solutions and building quality client relationships, the choice for Ralph has been simple.

“The way I learn things is by talking to other owners,” Ralph says. “I met Jon through a mutual contact, and I was immediately impressed with how much he knew about the business. I felt comfortable with him, and I can tell you, we’ve saved a lot of money every month.”

“We’ve provided new financing for the Dicksons on several occasions,” Jon adds. “It’s been a pleasure being their financial partner and getting to see their continued success.”

SouthState helps NAPA distributors like Dickson Auto Parts grow their footprint. To learn more, contact Jon Roberson today.

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