Pep Boys

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The Pep Boys: Manny, Moe & Jack
Traded as NYSEPBY
Industry Specialty retail and automotive repair and Tires
Founded 1921 (as Pep Auto Supplies)
Founder Maurice (Moe) Strauss
Emanuel (Manny) Rosenfeld
W. Graham (Jack) Jackson
Number of locations
798 stores (2014)
Key people
John Sweetwood - Interim CEO
Products Auto parts, service and tires

The Pep Boys: Manny, Moe & Jack, (branded as and commonly abbreviated as Pep Boys) is a full-service and tire automotive aftermarket chain.

The first store, originally named Pep Auto Supplies, was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1921 by Emanuel (Manny) Rosenfeld, Maurice L. (Moe) Strauss, W. Graham (Jack) Jackson, and Moe Radavitz.

Currently headquartered in the Allegheny West section of Philadelphia, Pep Boys operates 803 stores and approximately 7,000 service bays in 35 states and Puerto Rico. Along with its full-service vehicle maintenance and repair capabilities, the company also serves the commercial auto parts delivery market. It is one of the leading sellers of replacement tires in the United States, and in 2005 was named one of the 500 fastest-growing U.S. companies.[1]


Pep Boys logo from June 6, 2004 to July 22, 2013.

The original "Pep Boys" were Emanuel "Manny" Rosenfeld, Maurice "Moe" Strauss, Graham "Jack" Jackson and Moe Radavitz, four friends who pooled $800 in 1921 to open a single auto parts store. They dubbed it Pep Auto Supplies after noticing a shipment of Pep Valve grinding compound on the shelves.[citation needed]

That name was changed because of a policeman Leonardo Mayi who worked near the store. Apparently, every time the officer stopped a car at night for not having an oil wick burning, he would tell the driver to go see the "boys at Pep" for a replacement.[citation needed] That advice turned into the name Pep Boys, which stuck until Moe Strauss took a trip to California around 1923. While there, he noticed that many successful West Coast businesses used their owners' first names. One he liked in particular was a dress shop called Minnie, Maude and Mabel's. As soon as he returned to Philadelphia, the store's name was officially changed to "The Pep Boys — Manny, Moe & Jack" (Radavitz had cashed out the previous year[2]). Shortly thereafter they commissioned the Manny, Moe and Jack caricatures that still serve as the company's logo. When Jackson left in 1925, his caricature was replaced with that of Moe's brother, Isaac (Izzy) Strauss.[2] (The company name remained the same despite the personnel change.) No further changes were made to the logo until 1990, when Manny's cigar was removed.[3]

By the early 1930s Pep Boys had 40 stores in Philadelphia, and Manny's brother, Murray Rosenfeld, had opened the first West Coast Pep Boys store. In 1939 Izzy Strauss left to form his own auto supply business in Brooklyn, Strauss Stores, which later merged with Roth & Schlenger Home and Auto to form R&S Strauss, the ancestor of Strauss Discount Auto, later known as Strauss Auto, which closed its doors on June 4, 2012.[4]

In 1946, Pep Boys went public and Manny Rosenfeld became the company's first corporate president, a position he held until his death in 1959. Moe Strauss served as president from 1960 to 1973 and remained a member of the board of directors until his death in 1982. In 1986, Mitch Leibovitz became the first non-founding family member to be named company president. Manny's grandson, Stuart Rosenfeld, Pep Boys Vice President of Distribution, is the only founding family member actively involved in company management. The Strauss and Rosenfeld families continued to control approximately one fifth of the company's stock until the early 1990s.[2]


In 2006 major stockholders Barington Capital Group and Pirate Capital LLC, whose combined stake exceeds 25% of Pep Boys common stock, engineered a reorganization of the company's management and board of directors, citing a lack of strategy and need for change.[5]

In May 2008, Pep Boys CEO Jeff Rachor left the company after 13 months to pursue a luxury automotive dealership venture with Michael Dell (founder of Dell). Chief Operating Officer Michael R. Odell replaced him as CEO.[6]

On October 13, 2009, Pep Boys acquired tire retailer Florida Tire for $4.35 million. The acquisition gave Pep Boys 10 service-and-tire centers in the Orlando market that generate sales of $14 million a year.[7] Pep-Boys is also opening small service-only stores.

In April 2011, Pep Boys acquired 7 stores from tire retailer Big O Tires. The acquisition gave Pep Boys service-and-tire centers in Washington state.[8]

In May 2011, Pep Boys acquired tire retailer Big 10 Tires. The acquisition gave Pep Boys an additional 85 service-and-tire centers in Georgia, Florida and Alabama, including concentrations around Atlanta and Orlando.[9]

In June 2011, Pep Boys acquired 7 locations from automotive repair company My Mechanic. The acquisition gave Pep Boys additional locations in the Houston, Texas area.[10]

On January 29, 2012 Pep Boys announced that it had agreed to be acquired by The Gores Group, a Los Angeles-based private equity investment company, for $15 per share, or approximately $1 billion.[11] However, on May 30, 2012 it was announced that the acquisition would not take place.[12]

On September 6, 2013 Pep Boys acquired 17 Discount Tire Centers in Southern California. 75% of Los Angeles-Area Residents Now Live Within 3 Miles of Pep Boys.[13]

On September 26, 2014, Michael O'Dell resigned as CEO and President. John Sweetwood was announced as interim CEO.[14]

NASCAR sponsorship[edit]

Pep Boys began sponsoring NASCAR two-time Daytona 500 champion driver Sterling Marlin's No. 14 car owned by Ginn Racing in 2007.[15] The company also sponsored the Pep Boys Auto 500, a race held at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in October for the years 2008 and 2009.[16]



Further reading[edit]

  • Calabro, Marian. The Pep Boys: Founders of the Automotive Aftermarket. New York: Lark Books (a division of Sterling Publishing Co.), 2006.

External links[edit]