Davison Auto Parts
Helping Things Run for a Century
As early as 1918, when cars were still new, Grandpa Loren Watkins was already in the automobile business as a car dealer on the corner of Third and Baker Streets. A few years later, Watkins moved the parts portion of his dealership across the street and Watkins Auto Supply was born.
In 1924, when the National Automotive Parts Association(NAPA) was formed, “Wat” became one of the first NAPA jobbers in the country. In 1946 Wat retired, selling his business to son-in-law C.L. Davison, who changed the name to Davison Auto Parts.
In 1957, the McMinnville store moved to its present location on Baker Street. Also in 1957, the first manufactured home plant was opened in McMinnville which prompted Davison to start selling industrial supplies to the manufactured housing industry.
The five-store operation remained the same for many years until a new opportunity presented itself in 2004: the small market.
In 1972 C.L. retired after selling the store to his sons, Ron and Tom, and a group of long-time employees. In 1976, the McMinnville store was expanded, then again in 2000.
In 1985 an electrical shop was added to the McMinnville store to rebuild starters, alternators and generators. The electrical shop provides a service not found at many parts stores in the United States. This unique shop can often repair electrical units at a better price than purchasing new ones.
The Davison group has grown to eleven stores including McMinnville, which acts as the hub. Sheridan, Monmouth, Woodburn, Carlton, Mehama, Stayton, Reedsport, Tillamook, Lincoln City and Florence round out the Davison reach. Lincoln City and Florence were most recently added in 2014. The Tillamook store moved into a new space in August 2015, nearly doubling its size and improving its location for the community and the coast traffic passing by.
For nearly 70 years, the McMinnville machine shop has been a local mainstay but machine shops in Woodburn and Stayton are popular and dependable, too.
Starting in 1951, a Davison truck was dispatched to Portland several times a week to pick up parts. In 1975, the truck began making daily runs, as it does now. The shuttle makes up to 25 stops a day along its route, allowing for flexibility and speedy service in special-order parts.
Today, the business continues to be run by the Davison family, with more than 100 employees. Ron’s son, Steve, and Tom’s son, Dan, both help in the day-to-day operations as well as Ron’s son-in-law, John Fuhrer. John’s son, Jacob Fuhrer, has also joined the team. Ron’s wife, Linda, works in the office regularly along with Ron’s daughter, Jill Scales. The Davison operation is a true family affair!
Davison Auto Parts serves the agricultural, automotive, manufactured home and wine industries of Yamhill, Marion, Douglas, Tillamook, Lincoln and Polk counties.