What started as a storefront selling auto supplies in Staunton in December 1937, has grown into McKay Auto Parts, which now boasts 23 stores in the Midwest, along with a brand new headquarters located in Dean Meier Industrial Park in Litchfield.
“This has been a long time in coming, and we’re very excited,” said Earl Flack, president of McKay Auto Parts.
That Staunton storefront, Staunton Auto Supply, was started by the late Vincent McKay, and eventually grew to include a Litchfield storefront to become S&L Motor Parts. A photo of the original store now hangs in the new lobby of the McKay Auto Parts headquarters.
Over the years, the McKay family purchased additional stores, and the company established a warehouse on Old Route 66 in Litchfield in 1962. That warehouse is now also attached to the headquarters in the industrial park, serving all the McKay Auto Parts stores.
Brothers Robert McKay and Jim McKay would assume leadership of the company, and Flack would later be named president of the group.
In December 2019, the company moved the warehouse from Old Route 66 to its current home, a 54,000 square-foot distribution center. They spent about $1 million to upgrade the empty building with efficient LED lighting and up to ten miles of shelving to hold $5 million in inventory, shipped daily to McKay stores around the area.
The new warehouse employs 35 people and is fully automated to help with accuracy in pulling product from the shelves to the stores.
Every year, McKay Auto Parts sells $3.5 million in American-made Napa Automotive/Commercial/ Farm and Fleet batteries, making them the seventh largest dealer of Napa batteries in the United States.
“We have to have really good people helping us out to make this happen,” Flack said.
Since the opening of the warehouse, the company has also been working to add new offices for McKay Auto Parts staff to the front of the building.
“Our old building was worn down, and it was time for a change,” Flack said.
The new office space employs 14 people with room to grow. It also features a break room, a kitchen area and a training center. Employees began moving into their new office space in July.
“If it’s shop related or store related, this training center is going to be used a lot,” Flack said. “We tried to think of everything we could to attract employees. The space is friendly, clean and well lit.”
Last year, they were able to host McKay’s annual tool sale at the new warehouse with plans to do that again Oct. 6-7.
The company will raffle off the signature Make-A-Wish golf cart during the tool show, having raised over $600,000 for the Illinois chapter of the organization in the last several years.
Flack hopes the new office space will be welcoming to customers and visitors alike and looks forward to writing a new chapter in the history of McKay Auto Parts.
“We never want to lose sight of our history,” Flack said. “But you also can’t get stuck there. This new headquarters is something we’re really proud of.”