By Alex Gladu, Independent We Stand
Locally owned businesses are known for supporting their communities. They sponsor local sports teams, donate to local causes and contribute to local development. It’s important work, but it’s made even more remarkable when the community feels inspired to give back to its local businesses.
With nearly 40 years in business, Fredonia NAPA Parts & Service has a long history of supporting its local Kansas community. Owners and family members Rod, Joni and Tom Vorhees each maintain active roles in the Wilson County Old Iron Club, which works to educate local students about the community’s agricultural heritage. Additionally, Rod is the chairman of the state conservation committee, a position he has held for nearly 25 years, and Joni is a longtime member of the local chamber of commerce and rotary club. Rod and Tom serve in the community’s rural fire department, sometimes volunteering as much as 80 hours per week.
The list of ways that the Vorhees family gives back to the Fredonia community goes on and on. Ultimately, though, it’s not the number of ways they serve that matters, but the relationship that Rod, Joni and Tom have developed with the community as a result. “Our philosophy in succeeding at any endeavor is simple: Be honest and consistently treat customers fairly,” Joni says. “It is the relationships you have and build within the community that is the foundation for success.”
Truly, those relationships became a somewhat literal foundation when the Vorhees family may have needed it most. “This is a close-knit community, as most in this area are,” Joni says. “The extent of that became apparent in 2007, when more than 22 inches of rain fell in one day, resulting in widespread flooding.” Businesses around the community, including Fredonia NAPA, were significantly damaged by the torrential rain. Once the water receded, the family’s customers flocked to the store to help rebuild.
“Rod greeted them and said, ‘I’m not sure how we may help you today, as it’s a pretty big mess,’” Joni recounts. “They responded, ‘It’s our turn to help you.’” All in all, more than 150 customers pitched in to help with the business’s cleanup and relocation.
“We did not lose a business, we only lost a bunch of stuff,” Joni says. “Our dedication to this community is absolutely the priority, for we have learned that you cannot give away more than you will receive in return.”
For more information about Fredonia NAPA, visit https://fredonianapa.stihldealer.net.