DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) – Teddy Jo Faley has the role someone’s looking for.
He dedicated 100,000 square feet of storage space to secure it.
Since 1962, Faley’s family business, IWI Motor Parts, has grown into a major auto parts wholesale distribution company in the Tri-State region and beyond.
With just over 250 employees and 14 locations, the company has grown dramatically since its inception selling filters from a station wagon.
“These are all the emotions you can feel,” said Faley, president and owner of the company. “Sometimes it was scary. Sometimes it was a lot of fun, but it was always a lot of hard work.
The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports that IWI Motor Parts is the primary supplier of auto parts to more than 3,000 auto dealers, mechanics and auto centers in eastern Iowa, southwestern Wisconsin and western l ‘Illinois. Every day, the company transports thousands of parts to many companies looking to repair their customers’ vehicles.
“We provide the parts needed to repair all cars locally,” said Faley. “There’s no way that one auto dealership or auto center can hold all of the parts needed for a car, so we make sure we have them on hand for them. “
The business was founded by Faley’s father, Mike Faley, who ran the business from his mother’s garage in Dubuque. Teddy Jo said his father would go from gas station to gas station, mainly selling oil filters.
Back then, cars were less complicated feats of engineering. Ford cars all shared the same Ford oil filters, while Dodge-Chrysler family cars all had their own filters. As far as individual manufacturers go, this was largely a one-off model, Faley said. Over time, cars have become more complex in their design and the number of unique parts made for each make and model of a vehicle has increased dramatically.
“Previously we only had a few different types of oil filters,” Faley said. “Now I have hundreds of different oil filters to fit all different types of cars.”
IWI has sought to respond to this growing complexity by expanding outward with new warehouse locations to accommodate its ever-expanding offering, including the Iowa locations at Cascade and Dyersville, as well than the Wisconsin locations at Lancaster and Platteville.
Faley joined the family business in 2003 and became president in 2008. He said his business is reaching auto hubs in the tri-state area and beyond, with freight deliveries routinely to Decorah, Iowa and Rockford, Ill.
More recently, the company has focused on increasing its presence in southwestern Wisconsin.
Faley said IWI Motor Parts has established itself as a reliable supplier of quality parts, never settling for counterfeit products. It is a dedication to quality that the company needs to set itself apart from its larger competitors.
“We are competing with national companies,” Faley said. “They have thousands of stores, so we’re going to guarantee we’re not going to sell you something from China that’s been reverse engineered.”
For many Dubuque mechanics and auto centers, IWI is the best option for parts.
Ron Vaughn, owner of Vaughn’s Automotive in Dubuque, said he has been a customer of IWI Motor Parts for 26 years, largely because of their reliability and dedication to quality.
“They always stand behind their parties,” Vaughn said. “It’s always nice to be able to put in an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) part.”
Mark Merfeld, co-owner of Merfeld Brothers Automotive in Dubuque, said he has purchased parts from IWI since starting his business in 2004 and praised the company’s variety of choices.
“They have quality parts and the staff have always been helpful,” said Merfeld. “They have always been our reference. “
Faley has said he intends to continue to expand the IWI’s footprint. While the complexity of vehicles and the number of parts may continue to increase, Faley said it was a challenge he and his employees were more than happy to take on.
“We are really proud of the work we have done,” said Faley. “The business has been a leap of faith, and it’s great when something like this works.”
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