By Pat Caldwell
VALE – Derek Chamberlain’s decision to start his own business was a leap of faith.
But he hoped that his idea to bring quality service to his hometown was feasible. So he put trust in the notion that he and his wife Claire were making the right decision to deliver their expertise to Vale residents.
A year ago, they opened CAPS on 10th Avenue East, offering auto, truck and agriculture parts.
Now, they are expanding, offering a new Husqvarna line of products.
“What is neat is we saw a need for it – people were coming in to get lawnmowers fixed,” he said.
Chamberlain is not a stranger to the parts business.
For nearly a decade he worked for MHC Kenworth in Dallas, Texas., where he started behind the parts counter and worked his way to district manager.
Chamberlain said his new Husqvarna line will be convenient for Vale residents.
“Everyone has a lawnmower, a chainsaw or a leaf blower. Everyone is going into Ontario to have it worked on. Now you don’t have to drive 20 miles to drop it off and 20 miles to pick it up,” he said.
Chamberlain is ready to hire a mechanic to service the Husqvarna products and small engine repair.
Chamberlain said his success in the past year came in part from offering drill stem pipe for feedlot construction.
“We also put an emphasis on trucks. We have bulked up our truck parts inventory and we are seeing a lot of the trucking community coming through,” he said.
He said he is planning to add tire sales soon.
Chamberlain said employees are also part of his success.
CAPS started out with just Derek and Claire but later added one fulltime employee and a part-time worker, who subsequently became full time.
Chamberlain said the biggest challenge his business faced was finding a way to meet the retail parts of customers and the community.
“There are so many things we see as a need in Vale. We only have so many financial resources but we want to do all of them at once,” he said.
The best part of his business, though, is where it is located.
“I get to be around the community I grew up in. People I’ve known my entire life, I get to help them and I get to work with my wife and my kids can come down to the shop,” he said.
Derek Chamberlain said starting his own business was a good move, especially in Vale.
“The community sort of embraced us,” he said.
Have a news tip? Email: news @ malheurenterprise.com or call Pat Caldwell at 541-473-3377.