NAPA AUTO PARTS honorary crew member credits mom with instilling values leading to his penchant for customer service


Jason Toellner combined his mother's sensitivity and concern for others with his father's mechanical aptitude and decades of hard work in a General Motors plant to determine his career path.

"My mom was very sweet and kindhearted, and dad was such a hard worker," said Toellner, 39, of Danville, Ill., "so I guess how we act always goes back to values instilled by our parents."

As chief operating officer for the Danville NAPA Auto and Truck Super Store, quality customer service is a priority and that asset has enabled the NAPA Super Store, owned by Gary Knight, to develop into one of the most state-of-the-art and successful NAPA stores in the country since it opened a year ago.

"It's a mecca," said Bob Wildt, wholesale manager for NAPA Indianapolis.

"They have done a great job of marketing their business. Jason and all the associates at his store are highly motivated and treat customers the right way, the way NAPA wants its customers to be treated."

Wildt said Danville NAPA, located at 303 North Gilbert, is considered a "super store" because it carries a full line of NAPA parts from paint to car and truck parts in the 13,000-square-foot store that has four plasma televisions.

"It's a little elaborate but that's what we wanted for our customers," Toellner said.

Toellner's contributions to the NAPA Super Store's success is why he was selected to be Saturday's NAPA AUTO PARTS honorary crew member for Ron Capps' Funny Car team during the prestigious NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis.

He and his wife of four years, Jackie, were treated to the day in Don Schumacher Racing's NAPA Club Nitro hospitality pavilion where they enjoyed a specially prepared meal by DSR chef Malcolm Clark and soft drinks throughout the day.

Toellner also received a NAPA AUTO PARTS crew shirt, rode with the team to retrieve Capps and his Funny Car after a run, and spent time with Capps during a tour of his racecar transporter.

Toellner is a fan of NHRA drag racing and recalls building a small block engine for his 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle when he was 15. But instead of pursuing a career as an automotive technician, he took a job in a dealership's service department.

"I started with some dealerships that didn't treat customers very nicely, and I learned from that," he said. "I've always tried to put myself on the other side of the counter. It is so basic to treat people the way you want to be treated."