He was sound asleep at home at 2 a.m. one August morning. This is when he got a call from one of the farm workers working for a company during the night shift for the annual grape harvest. The worker explained that he needed an auto part as soon as possible, as one of the machines had broken down. So, he got out of bed, put on his work clothes, and drove to Shafter Napa right away. He then got the part and took it to the farm worker who needed it.
Instead of going back home after to sleep more, he just went back to his store, in case any other customers needed to call him for a part. It is now 4 a.m., and he's exhausted,as he has not slept much the past couple of weeks. But this does not matter at all to him, because he knows it's all worth it as long as his customers are happy.
This story was 23 years ago when Randy Brinsfield was 45 years old. He is now 68 and he
still has the same work ethic he did back then.
Randy Brinsfield was the youngest of 6 kids, all who grew up in a 300 square foot trailer in Shafter. From a very young age he explained that he did not enjoy school very much, as he would rather be working instead. He loved working on cars from a very young age, and he owes a lot of this to his oldest brother Carl. "My brother Carl was a mechanic, and he would often let me go to work with him when I was just 12 years old," said Brinsfield, "and this is when I found my passion of working on cars."
By the time Brinsfield was in high school, he already landed a job at 15 working for a local gas
station that was owned by his brother in-law. Gas stations were not the same as they are today, as back then most gas stations did oil changes, change tires, and other quick mechanic fixes as well. Throughout the next 14 years of his young adult life, Brinsfield would end up working for many different mechanic-based companies. When Brinsfield was 29 years old, he finally had saved up enough money to own his very own gas station.
The 76 gas station was a hit spot in the community of Shafter, as the majority of the locals would come to air up their tires, get an oil change done, or just to fill up their empty tank. The gas station was a dream job for Brinsfield as he got to meet more and more people throughout the community, as well as being able to work on cars all throughout his days.
It was all going good until time eventually started to catch up to him. Randy was having a hard
time with being able to deal with the physical labor of working on cars as he was getting older in
age. This is when, at age 42, he discovered Shafter Napa, the auto part store he currently runs
and owns in Shafter today. "It wasn't the same as working on cars," Randy explains, "however
it was the closest thing I could get to that feeling again." Brinsfield loves his work life as all his
friends have come from owning his own auto part store. Even though the covid-19 pandemic
and his age has taken a toll on him and his business, he is very clear that he still enjoys working
at age 68 the same he did when he was age 12.
Finding their passion
Randy was lucky enough to find his passion at just 12 years old. Since he was a little boy, all he
knew was working on cars. He owes finding this passion to his two older brothers, David and
Carl. They were the ones to introduce Randy at such a young age to the mechanic lifestyle. The
thing Randy loved the most however, was the thrill of having to figure out what exactly was
wrong with a vehicle. Brinsfield loved getting his hands dirty as a young mechanic, and that feeling of doing "Blue Collar" work never got old for the now 68-year-old. In short, being a mechanic was all he ever knew his whole life, so he couldn't imagine himself doing any other job.
Randy's passion for mechanic work and auto parts does not stop there. He loves what he's doing so much simply because he loves to help others. "He thinks of his customers more as family and friends," Brinsfield's employee and daughter, Mindy, says, "he cares more about helping people rather than making money."
It is a rare case where you see a business owner love his customers as much as Brinsfield does. He has passion for his job not only because he loves what he does, but he just loves helping people in general. The Mechanic and Auto Part Shop life has brought him what he considers his family, and this is what makes that passion for the business even larger inside of him.
Working and fixing cars or finding out what part someone needs has also brought the
competitive nature out of Brinsfield. The mechanic and auto part store business is competitive on a daily level, and this is what keeps Randy motivated to keep going, even though he could retire today if he wanted to. He needs to have that competitive spirit that his work brings out of him, as it's what keeps him going today. Many believe if someone is truly passionate about something then they have to be ultra-competitive at it, and Brinsfield is a living embodiment of this.
Even though Brinsfield loves how his business is running today, he said there are certain things that it can improve on. "We need to expand the Business," Randy says, "if we can get a couple more good accounts than we will be doing a lot better for our monthly total of sales." Brinsfield loves driving out to fill customers orders, or helping people inside the shop, and he does not plan to stop doing that anytime soon.
However, the new age technology side of the business is making it difficult on the 68-year-old.
So much so, that in the years to come, he will be training who he wants to be the next owner of the business. "I recently brought in my son in law, John, as I think he will be a great fit to be the next owner of Shafter Napa," says Brinsfield. Even though he will not own the business within the next couple of years, Randy does not plan to stop working anytime soon. He has made it clear that he plans on being the guy who goes and gets more customers, or the one who delivers parts to the far away customers. In a way, this is actually a treat for Brinsfield, as he will finally get to do parts of the job that he enjoys the most. As for Brinsfield's personal life going forward, he explained he does not expect anything major to change in his day-to-day life. However, he does have a two-year-old great grandson that will certainly keep him on his toes. He can't wait to take him on trips, see him play sports, and watch him grow up through the years. Also, not being the owner of Shafter Napa will allow him to do more of his favorite hobby. This being bass fishing with his friends and family across all his favorite lakes in California. "I just need to get the boat ready and were all good to go," Randy says with excitement, "I can't wait to get back to fishing again!" I think we can all agree that the 68-year-old has earned his right to go fishing whenever and wherever he wants.