Orleans Auto Supply has announced the promotion of James-Ace Thackston to store manager at the company’s Main Street, Falmouth location.
In his new role, Thackston supervises a staff of 10 employees and manages customers’ orders from automotive shops, dealerships, marinas and municipalities in the Falmouth area as well as on Martha’s Vineyard.
Thackston, 29, who started at Orleans Auto Supply four years ago, rose through the ranks, beginning as a parts specialist. Prior to joining Orleans Auto Supply, he worked as an assistant manager at Advance Auto Parts and as general manager at Carquest Auto Parts—both located in Hyannis.
“James is a well-rounded, responsible and an extremely positive individual,” says Steve Pasquale, Sales Manager for Orleans Auto Supply. “ Nothing gets in his way when it comes to taking care of his customers and he is a master at problem solving. We are very fortunate to have him on the Orleans Auto Supply team.”
The Barnstable High School graduate is no stranger to the automotive repair and parts industry. His father, Allen, owned James-Ace Auto Repair for about 10 years on Palmer Avenue in Falmouth, located just down the street from Orleans Auto Supply.
“I have known this store for a long time,” says Thackston, who enjoys working on a blue 1981 Pontiac Firebird in his spare time. “When I worked with my dad at his automotive repair shop, Orleans Auto Supply was one of our suppliers.”
The Mashpee resident says working at the Falmouth store feels like home and he has a solid understanding of his customers’ needs since he’s been on both sides of the business. He emphasizes the importance of customer service and how it sets Orleans Auto Supply apart from the local competition.
“At the end of the day, we all carry the same brands,” says Thackston. “When you call, you can be having the worst day, but at least you know you’ll get a friendly voice on the phone who is going to be patient and help you out.”
Since Orleans Auto Supply was considered an essential business when COVID-19 hit mid-March, all four Orleans Auto Supply stores remained open (Hyannis, Orleans, Dennis Port and Falmouth). Thackston said even though a lot of vehicles weren’t on the road, they were still providing parts for police cruisers, ambulances and vehicles at Joint Base Cape Cod.
“We work with a lot of garages around here, so we couldn’t slow down for them. We had to make sure we were always available,” he said, adding that the stores adapted quickly to the needs of municipalities.
In addition to serving customers in the surrounding Falmouth area, Thackston and his team also fulfill orders for several automotive shops on Martha’s Vineyard. Deliveries are scheduled three times a day via boat and a taxi service on Island then delivers the parts to the customer.
Ironically, Thackston didn’t set out to work at an automotive supply store. He was studying to be a music teacher at Bridgewater State University. But then his dad’s shop closed and he started to reassess his life.
“I just happened to pass an auto parts dealer every day on my way to the laundromat and I just decided, ‘You know what, I have worked on cars before. Maybe this will work out.,” he said.
His background as a musician—playing mainly saxophone, clarinet and flute—has helped him think fast on his feet as store manager.
“I would have to play multiple instruments and I had to keep changing throughout the song,” he explained. “It forced me to constantly think on the spot and problem solve all day long, similar to what I am doing in my current position.”
For more information about Orleans Auto Supply, visit https://orleansautosupply.com/