Where once stood an auto parts store, soon another auto parts store will take its place. AutoZone is planning to open a new store at 1800 Yakima Valley Hwy. in Sunnyside this coming spring.
Ray Pohlman with AutoZone said the Sunnyside store will include an estimated 6,300 square feet of retail space and will employ between 10 and 12 people. He noted that the positions will be a mix of full and part-time jobs.
Sunnyside Building Inspector Mike Storms said AutoZone turned in its building application for the project in December 2004. He explained that the store will be located on the same lot as the previous Al's Auto Supply store, noting that plans call for the old building to be torn down and a new structure to be built. Storms said the new building will be constructed on the northern portion of the lot, with the storefront facing Yakima Valley Highway.
Pohlman said one of the reasons the company decided to build in Sunnyside is because they try to place stores in locations where people tend to drive cars that are seven years old or older.
"As people keep their cars longer, there is a greater opportunity for them to become our customers," Pohlman said.
He noted that this year AutoZone is planning on opening 200 new stores across the nation, a goal he said the company reached last year and the year before. At this point, Pohlman said there are 3,448 AutoZone stores in the United States. Pohlman added that this spring AutoZone is not only moving into Sunnyside, but they are also opening stores in Yakima and Kennewick.
According to Pohlman, AutoZone is the largest auto parts retailer in the country. He added that 85 percent of the company's customers are do-it-yourselfers.
"The biggest thing we provide is trustworthy advice," Pohlman said. "We sell you everything you need to do the job right."
Pohlman said AutoZone offers advice about specific repairs both in person and on their website. He added that at AutoZone they try to ensure that customers leave with everything they are going to need to get the job done right. Pohlman said there is nothing worse than to get home, start your repairs and realize you need to go back to the store for another part.
Besides offering advice, Pohlman said AutoZone also offers some unique programs. He said the store has a loan-a-tool program, where do-it-yourselfers can borrow tools from the store at no cost to get the job done at home. He said they also offer free diagnostic service and battery installation.
"We built this company on customer satisfaction," Pohlman said.