AutoZone – How it became the name you know today!
AutoZone is the leading retailer and distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories in the Country. For more than 30 years, the company has been committed to providing the best parts, prices and customer service in the automotive aftermarket industry. It is intriguing to note that the companies pledge starts off as AutoZoners always put the customers first! and they have indeed lived true to the very word! Many customers have rated AutoZone as friendly, knowledgeable and eager to help customers with their vehicle. Striving for exceptional performance, the organization is made up of group of employees with a rich history.
AutoZone’s history started with the vision of one man: J.R. “Pitt” Hyde III. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of North Carolina, he joined Malone & Hyde, Inc., a wholesale food company founded by his grandfather. Pitt initiated and developed Malone & Hyde’s specialty retailing division, beginning with drug stores and expanding to include sporting goods stores and supermarkets.
Pitt saw a need for a retail automotive parts store to help people with the upkeep of their vehicles and created Auto Shack. He believed that the characteristics found in supermarkets – clean, well-organized store, accessible products and great customer service – could be applied to the automotive parts business. In 1979, his vision became a reality.
On July 4, 1979, Auto Shack opened its first store in Forrest City, Arkansas. Doc Crain was the first Auto Shack store manager and sales that day totalled about $300. In 1986, Auto Shack was spun off as a freestanding company of which Pitt served as Chairman and CEO.
Today, Auto Shack is AutoZone – a Fortune 500 company and the leading auto parts retailer in the United States with more than $8.1 billion in annual sales.
AutoZone continues to fuel growth by exploring new businesses and entering new markets. In 1996, AutoZone launched a commercial program offering credit and delivery to professional technicians. Later, with the purchase of ALLDATA, AutoZone acquired the nation’s leading provider of electronic automotive diagnostic and repair software. In 1998, AutoZone expanded its presence outside the U.S. borders to Mexico, opening the first AutoZone de Mexico store in December 1998.
AutoZone has come a long way. Today, AutoZone serves customers in 48 states, Mexico and Puerto Rico and employs more than 65,000 employees, referred to as AutoZoners. One of the constant, core foundations to its success has been the strong culture of customer satisfaction.