Advanced Auto Parts began when Arthur Taubman and one of his brothers began selling auto parts and household goods out of stores called Taubman’s. This business prospered until the Great Depression, when it was hit hard and eventually failed.
In 1932, Taubman bought a struggling three-store chain of auto parts stores called Advance Stores. He pawned his wife’s wedding ring for the down payment.
The federal government at that time was funding huge public works projects such as paving roads to give people jobs. This encouraged people to drive more and, along with the fact that people were holding on to their cars longer because of the poor economy, is reflected in the early success of Advance and other auto parts retailers.
After World War II Advance began to expand their product line to include batteries, tires, and seat covers at service bays that became part of the stores.
In 1978 the company changed its name from Advance Stores to Advance Auto and began to take steps to become a high-volume retailer.
In 1985 Advance Auto reached 100 stores.
In 1998 Advance acquired Western Auto from Sears, Roebuck & Co., therefore adding 598 stores to the company.
Today Advance Auto Parts is the largest automotive retailer in the United States with 3,800 stores, 55,000 employees, and $5.41 billion in revenue in 2012.