Letter to the Editor: Broken promise in Portsmouth

The Zoning Board will once again hold a hearing Thursday on a special use permit, which, if approved, would result in a new auto parts store in Portsmouth. 
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PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — The following letter to the editor, concerning a proposal to build an O’Reilly Auto Parts store, was submitted verbatim by Portsmouth resident Peggy L. Mercer. 

O’Reilly’s Auto Part wants to open a store in Portsmouth. How viable is that prospect? Jayson Derrick at Benzinga.com on July 6&7, 2017 states: “Aftermarket auto parts – Auto parts retailers rely on business coming from consumers who continue operating older cars. But a trend started to emerge in 2015 whereby consumers started favoring smaller/mid/cross-over vehicles, which cost less to maintain versus larger vehicles. On top of that, consumers continue to embrace electric and hybrid vehicles which similarly require less money to maintain versus combustion vehicles. These factors imply the sector will operate a period of lower sustained growth…Shares of O’Reilly’s Automotive Inc (NASDAC: ORLY) lost around 20 percent after reporting poor performance in its second-quarter comp sales report.” Brick and mortar stores are facing competition from online rivals. In Automotive News of 2/20/2017, Stephanie Hemendez McGavin states: “Amazon’s involvement in the aftermarket parts trade is about to get a little bigger….Same-day delivery could help online giant shake up the aftermarket parts landscape…Aftermarket suppliers and automotive parts retailers say Amazon’s same-day delivery service and status as a widely popular search portal may help the company carve out a larger piece of the aftermarket.” Does the downturn of O’Reilly’s coupled with these forecasts bode well putting a new store in Portsmouth?

Regarding the O’Reilly’s firm itself, do they keep their promises regarding their settlements? A California press release states that: ”O”REILLY’s AUTO PARTS SETTLES OVERCHARGING ACCUSATIONS FOR $1.5 MILLION…In a settlement filed this month with the court, the corporate parent of O’Reilly Auto Parts agreed to pay more than $1.5 million in penalties, restitution and investigation costs to settle a prosecutors’ consumer protection case that alleged that the company overcharged hundreds of customers…The suit also accused the company of failing to comply with the terms on another overcharging case against it, just six years ago.” So, the answer in this case is NO. O’Reilly’s is a repeat offender. They did not honor their pledge. Now they say that they have cleaned up their environmental problems. Why should we consider them trustworthy? How can we trust any promises that they make?

And while we are talking about broken promises let’s look right here in Portsmouth. At the July 20th meeting of the Zoning Board of Review the developer of the proposed O’Reilly’s store, Gary Eucalitto, promised that Dollar General would stop parking trucks in front and south of the store thus stopping deliveries through the front door. It hasn’t happened. On Wednesday, July 26th over the course of the day five different trucks delivered by said means. Trucks have also been seen at later dates and times using the procedures that were supposed to be stopped.

Peggy L. Mercer
Portsmouth 

To submit a letter to the editor, email Sandy@PortsmouthPress.com

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