On a visit to Houston on Sept. 27, Advance Auto Parts President and CEO Tom Greco met with team members who were affected by Hurricane Harvey or led the company’s relief efforts. Greco visited several stores in the Houston area, including local customers as well as the company’s new distribution center, which will begin shipping to stores on Oct. 23.
Greco’s visit continued a long-standing culture of support and proactive recovery efforts by Advance, which has now raised more than $400,000 to support internal hurricane relief efforts for the company’s team members in impacted areas. Funds have already been distributed to support team members and their families who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The support distributed by Advance came from the company’s non-profit Team Member Assistance Fund, which provides help to team members who experience hardship due to a natural disaster or other events beyond their control.
Advance operates nearly 100 stores in the greater Houston area and has more than 900 store team members who work in the market. In addition, the company employs an additional 125 team members in its new distribution center and Worldpac branches. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the entire Advance team as well as the support of the community, all Houston area Advance locations are now open to serve DIY and professional customers in the area. The Advance Auto Parts store located in Spring, Texas, was the final Advance store to reopen on Sept. 28. The Spring location had been closed since Aug. 26 due to extensive flooding by Hurricane Harvey.
“I could not be prouder of our Houston team for showing all of our customers and team members across Advance Auto Parts what ‘Houston Strong’ means,” said Greco. “We had many team members and their families who were significantly impacted by Hurricane Harvey, some of whom were tragically displaced from their homes and personal belongings. Our entire company has rallied around these team members as well as our customers in Houston. Our company’s mission is ‘Passion for Customers – Passion for Yes!’ Not only have our Houston team members demonstrated to all of us what this mission is all about, they have done so in an exemplary fashion. On behalf of all of us at Advance, I’d like to thank our entire Houston area leadership team for taking care of our people and our customers. They stood tall against tremendous adversity and helped others in a time of great need. We are proud to continue to support recovery efforts for our team, customers and communities.”
Greco was joined at Advance stores by Leslie Keating, executive vice president, supply chain strategy and transformation; Maria Ayres, South division president; and Mike Cooper, Southwest regional vice president. In addition, surprise guests included NHRA Funny Car Drivers John Force and Courtney Force of John Force Racing, and NHRA Pro-Stock Driver Alex Laughlin of Gas Monkey Garage who joined the visit. The Forces and Laughlin met Advance team members and signed autographs during the multi-stop, daylong visit.
“Advance Auto Parts has everything in place to help their team members and customers prepare for a hurricane and has all of the necessary supplies to help them recover,” said Courtney Force, driver of the Advance Auto Parts Chevy Camaro SS Funny Car. “I felt so inspired because they treat each other like family. They work together as a team and were most concerned about the safety of their employees and their families.
“We spoke with so many amazing people and heard their stories, signed autographs, took pictures and thanked them for their hard work and dedication,” said Courtney. “We did our best to try and put a smile on everyone’s face that we met, and lift their spirits up, but they ended up inspiring us with their courage. We met some amazing team members who are all a part of a great company and represent the true meaning of coming together and helping each other in a time of need.”
John Force, team owner of John Force Racing, said, “NHRA has been bringing us to the Houston area for years. To see on TV the damage and the destruction that Harvey did is nothing like when you come and see it up close and you hear the stories from the people. Thank you to Advance Auto Parts for letting us be a part.”
“Seeing all the damage from the hurricane in person really put it in perspective,” said Alex Laughlin. “What Advance Auto Parts has done for their team and customers to get them back on their feet is nothing short of remarkable and heroic.”
Support from Advance for the Houston community is ongoing as Advance works with customers to ensure product availability and the emergency supplies needed to do business are available to the region’s automotive industry.
To aid the recovery efforts, Advance used its Houston distribution center to stage relief supplies and also is helping professional shops replace or finance damaged shop equipment and tools, so these professional technicians can reopen their own businesses. Advance also paid all full and part-time team members for their scheduled hours, even if a location was closed due to the storm and flooding.