From The State Journal-Register
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The sale to a Rockford, Ill., supplier of 10 NAPA stores, including two in Springfield, Ill., will end an 87-year, three-generation run in the wholesale automotive parts business for Quincy Automotive Supply Co.
Company president J. Garth “Butch” Elzea III announced Monday the sale of NAPA operations to Motor Parts & Equipment Corp. (MPEC) of Rockford would be completed April 1, and that there should be few changes for customers or the 100 employees of Quincy Automotive.
“They are in a growth mode and, if anything, it will continue to grow,” said Elzea, who at age 61 has been with the family company for more than 35 years, including as president of Quincy Automotive Supply since 1984.
Founded in Quincy, Ill., in 1921, the company has been based in Springfield since 1944. The corporate name was not part of the sale, and Elzea plans to remain as a consultant on customer and employee relations to MPEC for four years. The sale price was not disclosed.
“We’ve been a NAPA-operated company since 1938 … and one of the reasons Quincy Automotive was an attractive company to be married to is the fact they run NAPA stores, and they run good NAPA stores,” said MPEC president and CEO Joseph Hansberry, also the third generation to run his family’s company.
The local stores will continue to operate with the NAPA brand, and Hansberry said other changes would be minimal.
Hansberry said wholesale customers, primarily auto-repair shops, account for about 70 percent of MPEC business, while Elzea said about 90 percent of Quincy Automotive Supply business is wholesale.
Elzea said he has been contemplating a sale of the family business for some time, and that he now would be free to devote more attention to development of the Edwin Watts Southwind Park.
The park is named for lifelong Springfield resident Edwin Watts, who died in 1913. His heirs donated the land for a park in 2004.
Elzea has been instrumental in raising money for the park, and one of the key features, Erin’s Pavilion, is named after his disabled daughter, who died in 2000 at age 17. The park is designed with the latest in handicapped-accessible facilities.
“For the past year, I’ve stepped back and focused on the park,” said Elzea, adding that the first phase of the park should open in June.
Elzea, who is involved in a variety of community service and charitable organizations, said leaving a business created by his grandfather in 1921 was made easier by the fact MPEC is also family owned.
But he shared a letter to Quincy Automotive Supply employees in which he said he and his wife, Chris, made the decision to sell the family business with a mixture of “excitement and emotion.”
“I can tell you it is a large portion of each as I have gone through this process,” he said.
Quincy Automotive Supply Co.
* Founded in 1921 in Quincy, relocated to Springfield in 1944.
* $10 million in annual revenues, 100 employees. Two stores in Springfield; one each in Taylorville, Petersburg, Pekin, Peoria, Morton, Decatur, Jacksonville and Beardstown.
Motor Parts & Equipment Corp.
* Founded in 1938 in Rockford.
* $23 million in annual revenues, 175 employees. Eighteen stores in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.
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