By C. Josh Givens
Dave Thompson Jr., got his start in the auto service industry in 1986 with his father, David Sr., when the elder opened an auto service center in Cannelton.
“I was working at Commonwealth Aluminum, helping him out before and after work, on weekends,” Thompson said. “I had to make a decision, and chose to continue with what we have today.”
These days, Thompson operates Thompson Tire & Service Center in Lewisport, a location opened in 2006, and in mid-June opened a separate business – Papa T’s Auto Parts – next door to the tire center at 45 Roberts Lane.
“We wanted to honor the legacy that my Dad built for us,” Thompson said of his father, who passed away in 2017. “He was known to everyone as ‘Papa T,’ so that sounded just right for this business. We will continue to build upon what he started, and one day the legacy will be left in the hands of my kids.”
Thompson said the decision to open an auto parts shop made sense when he began talking with potential customers, especially in the agricultural sector of Hancock County. The shop carries many of the smaller parts and supplies farmers may need to get a piece of equipment back up quickly.
“I wanted to make sure we had the custom hydraulic hoses, oils, and lubrication that farmers may need in a hurry,” Thompson said. “Especially in farming, time is money, and I was told by a bunch of people having the shop here is saving them a lengthy trip into Owensboro.”
The shop also carries many of the common auto parts products drivers and shop foremen have come to expect, such as oil and filters, wiper blades, fuses, and replacement parts.
“If there is something a customer needs, and we don’t have it in stock, we can usually have it here the next day,” Thompson said. “We saw that the people of Hancock County needed somewhere else to go for these automobile needs, and I hope they will enjoy having us here as much as we enjoy serving them.”
The business is affiliated with Carquest, a national automotive parts distribution network owned by Advance Auto Parts.
Thompson is working to establish relationships with auto service centers and garages, as well as growing relationships with local industries he has built through the tire shop. As well, staff will begin parts delivery services in the future.
“We are like a family around here,” Thompson said. “Our people are some of the best parts people around, very knowledgeable in the business.”
Papa T’s is staffed by Thompson’s daughter, Misty Thompson, along with Allen Popp and Mark Haney.
Hours at the shop are from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., on Saturday. The shop is closed on Sunday. Papa T’s can be reached by phone at 270-295-6400.
“We look forward to serving the community, and want to hear from people what they need for us to carry,” Thompson said. “We are learning every day and ready to do what our customers need.”