Family-owned McDuffey Auto Supply in Anadarko, Oklahoma, recently celebrated its 75th anniversary. When Bill McDuffey and his wife Mary Jean purchased the NAPA AUTO PARTS store in 1944 it was located in a small building in downtown Anadarko with a dirt floor, potbellied stove, and no bathroom. As the business grew, the couple was able to move their store to a much larger building—with plumbing. And just five years later, they built a new 5,000-square-foot building where McDuffey Auto Supply is still located today.
From Aircraft to Auto Parts
Bill and Mary Jean both grew up in Oklahoma City and enrolled at the University of Oklahoma in Norman in the early 1940s, near the beginning of World War II. After studying engineering for two years Bill tried to enlist for military service but was turned away with a 4F deferment. So instead he joined the war effort as lead inspector at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, then known as the Oklahoma City Air Depot, overseeing the repair, modification, and maintenance of B-17, B-24, and B-29 bombers.
Bill and Mary Jean married in 1943 and began to make plans for a life together. They learned of an opportunity to purchase a NAPA AUTO PARTS store through Joe Brittain, a friend of Mary Jean’s father. Bill was interested in NAPA and Brittain owned Brittain Brothers parts warehouse that served 138 NAPA AUTO PARTS stores.
At the time, two of those stores were for sale including one in Anadarko. Bill had a summer job there while in high school so he was familiar with Anadarko and loved the city for its prominent boulevard and landscape. The couple purchased the business from Carl Francen in 1944.
Active in Business and the Community
Over the years, McDuffey Auto Supply has flourished serving Caddo and surrounding counties with high-quality NAPA parts. At one time, the store offered customers a complete machine shop with a crank-shaft grinder, re-boring blocks, and head resurfacing, in addition to parts. McDuffey’s wholesale customers include two AutoCare Centers and many of the automotive repair shops in town. They also have a large number of agricultural accounts since crops and livestock have been a mainstay of Anadarko’s economy for many years.
In addition to being business owners, Bill and Mary Jean were active members of their community. Bill served as president of the Kiwanis Club, served on the Anadarko Board of Education, was a member of the National Auto Parts Association, and secretary of the United Methodist Church. Mary Jean was an active a member of P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Association) and the Philomathic Club.
The couple raised their children—Mack, Robert, Larry, Terry, and Julia—in Anadarko and the siblings practically grew up in the store.
Old School Service Points to Success
Today, sons Larry and Terry operate McDuffey Auto Supply. Terry said, “Most of us worked at the store during high school and dad offered each of us an opportunity to join the business or follow our dreams, whatever they might be. My brother Larry joined the business in 1972 and I came on board in 1978. Dad formally retired in 1980 but was at the store almost every day as an armchair advisor before he passed away in 1995.
“Besides both of us, we have two other employees. Roy Alberston is the head counterman and has been with us close to 20 years. Chase Bower checks shipments and handles our deliveries.”
Terry said they owe the success of McDuffey Auto Supply to great customer service. In addition to prompt, dependable delivery to both its AutoCare Centers and other wholesale customers, McDuffey’s takes good care of its walk-in customers, providing the same good, old-school service that was common when his parents opened the business 75 years ago, but is sometimes in short supply today.
Terry said for example, “Sometimes one of our walk-in customers needs help with something and we try to be of service. For example, we’ll change the wiper blades for those who need it. We’ve even had a few of my mother’s friends call the store with a problem when they’re having trouble such as their car won’t start. So we go over and take a look to find out how we can help.”
While McDuffey’s has welcomed customers during Filter Sales and hosted customer appreciation days in the past, the family’s 75th year in business deserved a special celebration. “We fed more than 200 people,” Terry said. “Four generations of our family were here as well as NAPA Oklahoma City General Community / McDuffey Auto SupplyManager Bruce Carter and Territory Sales Manager Steve Griffin.”
“I was truly honored to be a part of the 75th anniversary celebration of McDuffey Auto Supply,” said Carter. “Their hard work and passion for our business is what makes the NAPA family so great. I enjoyed listening to Mary Jean and the other family members tell stories about growing up working in the store. Terry and Larry have continued providing the community with great NAPA parts and service which was reflected by all the customers that came to celebrate with them. They are great people that we are proud to work with every day and look forward to their continued success.”
More than 90 years ago, the National Automotive Parts Association ("NAPA") was created to meet America’s growing need for an effective auto parts distribution system. Today, 91% of do-it-yourself customers recognize the NAPA brand name. We have over 6,000 NAPA AUTO PARTS Stores nationwide serving all 50 states with a unique inventory control system that helps you find the exact part that you need.