Advance Auto Parts, Inc. is an American retailer of automotive parts and accessories, founded in 1932 and headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia. As of 2019, Advance Auto Parts operates over 5,200 stores in the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada.
In 1932, Richard E. Rawls Sr. and Arthur Taubman founded Advance Stores Company, Incorporated in Richmond, Virginia. The Taubman family would control Advance Stores for the next four decades. In 1952, the company’s name was changed to Advance Auto Supply Company; in 1957 it became Advance Auto Parts Company; and finally in 1972 it became Advance Auto Parts, Inc.
During World War II, Richard Rawls Sr. and Arthur Taubman converted some of their Richmond stores into “Army and Navy Surplus” stores to take advantage of the increased demand for military supplies during the war. In the late 1940s, they began buying used cars and selling used auto parts from a warehouse on Jefferson Davis Highway in Richmond. They also started a mail order business for auto parts called “Advance-U-Auto”.
In 1957, Advance opened its first store outside of Virginia, in Raleigh, North Carolina. By 1960, there were 50 stores in the chain.
In 1968, Rawls Sr.’s son Richard E. “Dick” Rawls Jr., took over as president of the company from his father. In 1971, Dick Rawls Jr., led Advance Auto Parts to become a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange under ticker symbol AAP with an initial public offering (IPO) of 1 million shares at $16 per share.
As of 2019, Advance Auto Parts operates over 5200 stores in the United States, Puerto Rico