MASON CITY — Longtime Mason City businessman Tom Hovland is selling his 15 NAPA Auto Parts stores to Motor Parts & Equipment Co. of Rockford, Ill.
Hovland founded Tom Hovland Enterprises in Mason City 40 years ago. Today, his NAPA operations have stores in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, including in Ames, Belmond, Boone, Cedar Rapids, Clear Lake, Dubuque, Hampton, Iowa City, Iowa Falls, Marshalltown, Mason City and Waterloo in Iowa; Albert Lea and Austin, Minn.; and La Crosse, Wis.
The addition of the 15 stores gives MPEC 47 NAPA stores in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois and and Minnesota, according to Joseph Hansberry, executive chairman.
Hovland, 61, a 1971 graduate of Mason City High School and a car and motorcycle enthusiast all his life, got a $2,000 loan and started fixing cars in a two-stall garage on Sixth Street Southwest 40 years ago.
A chance meeting with a NAPA employee led to a job interview with NAPA officials in Des Moines — the start of a long NAPA career.
“I’ve been blessed,” Hovland said. “I’ve had a lot of great employees and we’ve done a lot of things right.”
He said the biggest impact in Mason City from the sale is that the corporate office will move to Rockford.
Hovland is also an airplane enthusiast. He owns a plane which he has used to travel to his stores over the years. He is a member of the Mason City Airport Commission.
His stores employ more than 160 workers, most of whom will be retained.