You Can Still Come To Western Auto

GRAFTON, Va. – On Route 17 in York County, Virginia remains one of the great remaining Western Auto stores. Don’t you just love the flags on the front? Six of them!

The chain was a national giant in auto parts and appliances. The chain opened in 1909 in Kansas City, Missouri as a mail order company. It was founded by George Pepperdine, who founded Pepperdine University. The first store opened in 1921. It became a national icon; many of the stores not only sold auto parts, but appliances and the like.

Back not too many years ago, car parts dealers and car repair shops often sold small appliances. For Generation X and older, Western Auto was also know as the home of the Western Flyer, which was a great bike. Take a peek at the Youtube commercial, which advertises “The lightweights for today’s young moderns.”

In 1987, Sears bought Western Auto, but it was no match for the growing power of retailers like Advance Auto (NYSE: AAP), which purchased many of the stores. Many dealers turned into Sears stores, and the rest turned into Advance Stores. Except this one in Grafton, which has been a Western Auto for decades.

Sadly, Advance did not see the value in the brand, but many independent stores, luckily, stayed independent and began sourcing auto parts from elsewhere. The Wikipedia entry on Western Auto mentions other stores in Marianna, Florida, Lincolnville, Maine, Stevensville, Maryland, Starkville, Mississippi, Forest, Mississippi, Trinity, Texas, and Henderson, Texas.

Apparently, the Western Auto name is still used in Puerto Rico, where it is the largest such chain, even though the Western Auto name is being phased out store by store into Advance stores.

While Advance Auto is a fine Virginia company, it is regrettable that they did not see more value in the Western Auto legacy. Thankfully, some of the pieces of the brand have survived as living bits of American automotive (and educational) history. Some of the former dealers are still using the name; it still has some value, and if it were promoted as a general merchandise store that sold auto parts, it could have value as a different sort of Advance Auto. The name is still registered to Advance, but a company cannot keep a trademark that it does not use.



  1. I owned a revaluation model 338 410 bolt action shotgun ball around 1962 from Western Auto supply company by William Homer Johnson and was wondering how I can get in touch with someone to find out those serial numbers on that gun because it was stolen and thank you very much

  2. JB St. Romain had the store in Alexandria, LA for 47 years. I worked there, it seemed like forever! Man, I really miss my place!

  3. I bought a midland brand microwave from western auto in magnolia arkansas in 1979 and I’m still using it. Works great. I also have an old wizard sewing machine from there too and it’s still running.

  4. My dad & uncle owned a Western Auto Store in the 50’s, in New Athens Illinois! It flooded and that’s all I recall.

  5. Goin’s -Western Auto, Dahlgren, IL, Jasper Goins, now son, David Goins runs.

  6. I still own a western Auto store in Neodesha, Ks. at 416 Main St. Zip 66757. Purchased the store Jan. 1, 1981 and still operate it through all the changes. This was actually the second Associate Store owned by Andy Anderson of Fredonia, Ks. He went to Western Auto to start an Associate plan with his store he opened in Fredonia and then the one in Neodesha. This store in Neodesha was operated by Dean Jump (approximately 40 years) till I purchased it. If ant one has any idea where I can purchase any of the old fixtures these stores used would you please let me know. Phone no. 620-325-3605.

  7. I was employed by Western Auto Supply, Greensboro Division, in the late 1940’s. I Trained for Assi Mgr at the Company store in Norfolk VA, then became Ast Mgr at the Greensboro store. Later I became a Sales Rep and Assisted in the sales of new stores and assisting dealers with problems. Great job. My
    first territory was Asheville, then Charlotte & Wilson, NC. Great job, Good People. Hard workers. Left to enter ministry. Proud of WA experience of ten+ good years.

    1. thanks for the reply Billy. I grew up in Virginia beach and I think there was one at London Bridge, as well as Grafton in the 1970s

  8. Grew up with Western Auto in Pennsburg, PA. Just bought an Interstate battery at the store that still carries the Western Auto name in Newport, TN. Great store, great prices! Great customer service!


  10. Can any one tell me what vehicle Wizard Shock Absorbers #S4252 fits

  11. I was a driver at the City of Industry, CA Distribution Center 1972-1977 which serviced hundreds of stores. I was the #1 Casual (on-call) driver when I had to leave to get a full time job with benefits and a regular schedule and income. We covered CA, AZ, NV, UT and Lordsburg NM. The stores and personnel, dealers and company, and the distribution center management were terrific. We had to do our jobs correctly and safely. We hand unloaded at the stores year-round. We worked hard and drove very irregular hours, Phoenix and Tucson Arizona specials leaving at midnight Thursday, unload in the morning and drive back the next night as an example. It was the best Truck Driving job I have ever had up to 2004. All the people at Western Auto were like family and friends.

  12. Almost bought the WA store in Hiawatha, KS., in 1973. Had WA franchise approval and the the bank approved the loan… Until WA pulled out first lien paperwork for the bank to sign off on. The bank wanted first lien on the inventory and so did WA. My dream of owning a WA store evaporated and it was a blessing in disguise. Within a year Walmart came to town and WA was no more in Hiawatha, Kansas.

  13. I am looking for any and all information on Westcraft lathes. Please email me with anything you have. Pictures, adds whatever.

  14. Hi
    I have an old WA Westcraft lathe from the mid 1940’s. Can anyone tell me where I can find information on these and WA catalogs from that period. Thanks

  15. Cromwell range sold by Western Auto

    Anyone ever heard of it? I have one and can find no information online anywhere about it.

  16. I remember going to Western Auto growing up both in Puerto Rico during the 80s and in the United States during the 90s. I did a little research online, and found out that there are roughly 55-60 Western Auto stores still in operation in the United States, not affiliated with Advance Auto Parts. This shows that the Western Auto name refuses to die and in fact, still has value. Since a company cannot keep a brand name it does not use, there is little to nothing Advance can do to prevent any new auto parts stores from using the Western Auto name should that possibility arise. After all, it is a very historical brand name!

  17. Steve Head-both my grandparents worked at that distribution center…Dot Davidson in the offices and Cordie Davidson as a truck driver. I have memories of going and hanging out there as a kid in the late 70’s and early 80’s

  18. Anyone recall a Western Auto in downtown East St. Louis, Illinois? It was off State Street and was there in the 1980s.

  19. I owed the Western Auto in Unionville, Missouri for about 18 years. Any one around that remembers? Great store and I was a very young owner, and thought I knew it all. Maybe I did… 🙂

    Don Miller

  20. George Pepperdine founded both Western Auto and Pepperdine University. It’s a beautiful place right on the beach at Malabu, California. Great law school and a great business school.

  21. My uncle and aunt owned a WA in Hicksville, OH from the 50’s into the 70’s while my parents owned one in Tecumseh, MI from 1955-1962. Terrific memories. Competition become tighter and WA did not give the dealers the pricing they needed to meet it according to Dad. At Christmas time, Dad had the neatest Lionel train display. Sold American Flyer as well.

  22. For Christmas in 1965 my mom bought me a revelation semi auto 22 cal. rifle. (marlin) I was 15 yrs. old. She paid $35 for it. It was purchased in Waldorf Md. @ W.A. . I still have it and its in excellent cond. Its primary use was to put food on the table. I think a box of shells cost .59 cents back then.

  23. Hi, I’m looking for slipstream wax i use to use on my car in the 70’s. Do you still carry it, and can you send me some? Thank you, Sincerely, Tomaso.

  24. My name is John Burkett and for many years Iworked in a Western Auto owned by my father in Milford, Del. The store closed during the later part of the 1980s. My father gave me a rather large inventory of new Wizard Auto parts and I am trying to locate a reference guide or any old catalogs that i can find to reference automotivr info.. Most of the parts are for very old cars. I have complete carbs, fuel pumps, gasket sets and ignition parts for Model T’s and for cars that are in the 1929 through 1950’s. I have several master cyl and wheel cyl repair kits but have no reference as to what they fit. Please help if you can. (1-252-288-6911)

  25. I have worked at the distribution center in Gastonia, N.C. for 39 years. I went to work there a year after the distribution center opened and have been there ever since. Western Auto management was very good, they seemed to care for their employees!

  26. Sirs: I am looking for parts for an power garden cultivator sold by Western Auto yrs ago. I believe it may be a Bolens. It was a stock number 4xw5840, SN 105138 . Any info would be much appreaciated.

  27. HELLO,


  28. We ran across an apartment size electric range for sale that appears to be from the 50’s. The only name on it is ‘Wizard’. We could not find any other information on it but believe it was sold by Western Auto. We are unable to plug it in where located to see if it works and are trying to find out if we can buy parts for it and whatever else we can find out. Any information would be helpful.

  29. I worked at the largest Western Auto in the World. Well, a few years after it was cut in half. It was built by Verle Davidson in Nicoma Park and when it was fully operational it was nearly the size of an older Walmart store. As the shopping center became successful he divided it in half. My dad came along and was the manager until Werstern Auto closed all the company stores in Oklahoma. Then he bought it and tried to keep it running until he decided to close down because the shopping center was falling apart. My dad had managed 6 different W.A. stores in his life and we moved a lot.

  30. I remember the WA in Durham, NC when I went into the Armed Forces in 1996 and when I came home , they had closed the store. Since retiring, I have been trying to find a store near my home to still shop at. WA sold bikes and I want to buy one for health reasons. Please help. Thanks.

  31. Hi Everybody: I stated Yesterday I Had One Book For Sale. But There Are Two Book’s. My Aunt Helen Wrote A Book After My Uncle George Passed On. The Title His Faith Was His Fortune. Uncle George’s Book Is My Faith Was My Fortune. Thankyou Michael P

  32. Hi Everybody: I Like All The Great Thing’s You Have Said. I’am Selling The Orginal Book About Western Auto, And Pepperdine Univ, Signed By Uncle George 1959 To My Dad And Mom Ben Pepperdine Jr. If Anyone Is Interested? I can Be Emailed At Thankyou Michael P Pepperdine

  33. When i finished h.s. I went to Nashville, tn. and went to work for Western Auto’s wharehouse until they closed. I opened a small garage restoring old cars and building hotrods and ratrods. Opened the ratsnest next door selling anything I could get my hands on that had anything to do with cars. Any help with merchindise, like Western Auto used to be. thanks

  34. I well remember those same brand names and quality goods we all sold for many years. I am a third generation in the family business that my grandfather started in November of 1936. We made the transition in 1998 to True Value Hardware after realizing that Western Auto was in trouble.

    1. wanted to tell you about my 1969 true tone electric guitar I brought in summer of 1969. mine was a fender strat. I was 16 and I went into our wa store. my parents were regular coustmers in Oneonta ala. when I saw this guitar it was the grestest looking guitar.i.worked all summer to pay for it.i was a novice at playing has good tones and its sounds better played on bigger amps{.fender mustang}I still have mine and I just had it rewired on still has all org. pickups and only non org. part on it is the tuner keys.i still say its the nicest guitar I ever brought.

  35. I recall selling many guitars and musical accessories to Western Auto stores and attending
    their conventions. Fond memories…..We still sell thousounds of guitars and other instruments and wonder if you might be interested in them?

  36. I have fond memories of the Western Auto store in Bluewell, WV when I was a kid in the early 70’s. I also lived just up the road from the WA store mentioned in the article. Anybody remember Truetone guitars? I sure do!

  37. I may own the oldest Western Auto still in business. My grand father started our WA , november 1940. I have worked at the store for over 30 years. The last WA convention, many years ago, they announced the oldest surviving store. Our store was started 6 months after them.
    I am located at
    501 East 3rd St
    Siler City NC. 27344

  38. My father had a W.A. for many years in Lewiston, Idaho and in Elko, Nevada. I remember some their sub brands:

    TrueTone Electronics
    Revelation Sporting Goods
    Citation Appliances
    Wizard Hardware/Lawn Goods

    Always had fun playing on the riding lawnmowers and minibikes.

  39. There is another extant Western Auto in Bonifay, FL. It is a great store with a hybrid assortment of furniture, major appliances, galvanized trash cans, hand tools, yard tools, electrical repair items, wash tubs, brooms, etc. It’s not quite a full-line hardware store, but it still fills a need in the community. There are several other Western Auto stores located in south Alabama and north Florida.

    Alas, another iconic brand just languishing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *