The North Bend Eagle


Store empty
Curtis Brabec works on finishing up some final business in his now-empty store in the days after he closed Brabec Supply. The building is now for sale.

Main Street auto parts store closes

by Nathan Arneal
Published 2/4/20

A Main Street business has closed in North Bend.

Brabec Supply/NAPA closed its doors for good last Wednesday. Owner Curtis Brabec has been trying to sell the business for more than a year, but when he didn’t find any takers, he decided to liquidate the auto parts business and sell the building by itself.

“I wish somebody would have bought it as a whole and kept it a parts store,” Brabec said. “I think the community needs it. I don’t want to see it empty.”

722 Main StreetNames of former businesses such as Widhelm Electric and North Bend Auto Parts can still be seen on the building at 722 Main Street. The structure, once known as the Lee Building, is believed to have been built in 1891.

Brabec took over the business in March 2010, buying it from previous owners Vaughn and Chris Gross-Rhode. Nearly 10 years of sitting behind the counter of the auto parts store was enough for Brabec.

“A lot of stories were told across that counter,” he said, “but I think I could still do something else. I’d like to try something else.”

Brabec, a 1997 Cedar Bluffs graduate, plans to work at family landscaping and window cover businesses run by his sister and brother-in-law. He also plans to build a shop at his home where he can continue to build and work on cars, something he did in the back of his North Bend building.

Brabec said about 80 percent of his business was auto parts, and nearly all of it was farm related.

“I didn’t get much of the weekend warrior changing his oil,” he said. “I had those people, but the farmers are what kept it going.”

In recent years some of that business started to decline as electric and diesel irrigation pump engines became more common. Those engines, especially the electric ones, can’t be helped by parts from Brabec’s store.

Brabec has known for a while that he was going to close shop. He started to spread the word among his customers and began to sell off his inventory.

“I just spread the word, this is what I want to do,” Brabec said. “Whatever things you think you might want, we’ll do package deals. That’s how a lot of it disappeared.”

When he sold some of his larger pieces of equipment, he knew the end was near.

“When the hydraulic machine left I knew that was it,” he said. “When that was gone, I knew it was go time.”

The final parts and shelving were hauled out last week. Except for some personal items in the back, the building at 722 Main Street is now empty.

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