Our story begins in 1947 with Nate Knecht, a traveling tire salesman who wanted to quit the road and be closer to his family. As it so happened, the tire company he was working for was opening up a new Springfield branch near Knecht’s home and looked to him to find a new owner/manager. Unfortunately for his employer, the deal with former investors fell through – but for Knecht, this was the opportunity he had been waiting for.
Knecht bought the ailing young business located near 33rd and Main St and renamed it Knecht’s Tire and Oil Co. The fledgling company became a successful truck stop, but Nate Knecht had bigger dreams. In 1955, he sold the station and opened up a new store on his family’s five acre parcel of land. This new store would become Knecht’s Auto Parts, and would revolutionize the auto parts industry.
Knecht was an Oregonian, independent and self reliant, and he disagreed with the dominant business model of the 1950s auto parts industry – which would only sell parts to dealers and professional installers. He envisioned a type of business that would cater to the do-it-yourself mechanics, and he believed the customer – his neighbors – deserved the best deal possible.
Nate Knecht’s new business model of selling directly to Springfield’s public at the same price as dealers was so successful that in 1967, he and son Wally opened up a second store in Eugene. By 1975 six stores had sprung up around the Springfield/Eugene area. Today, with 25 stores, Knecht’s Auto Parts is an established and familiar presence in Oregon. You can find us spanning from Medford to Portland, Coos Bay to Bend – and even as we’ve expanded we’ve maintained our small business values.
Now with a third generation of Knecht’s in the business we carry on Nate Knecht’s ideals of giving the customer a good deal and preserving the helpful and hometown feeling that originated with his dream back in 1947. ‘Family’ is our core value, and we welcome you, our neighbors, to come on by.