1922Herman J. DowneyWas one of the most colorful and successful figures in the automotive after market. Herman graduated from the Law School of the University of Alabama. Instead of practicing law, however, he went into the agency business in 1922 as representative for several accessory manufacturers. Later he opened a jobbing house in Blossburg, Ala., under the name of Downey Auto Accessory Co. The 1929 depression washed out the Blossburg venture and in 1933 Downey renewed his activity as a manufacturers representative. He joined forces with Leo Marcus in Chicago in 1942.
The two men1943Developed a nation-wide accessories sales organization. But Downey´s roots were in Birmingham; so he dissolved the Marus partnership in 1943, returned to his home town and opened a warehouse on Fourth Avenue. The business grew into larger quarters in 1950. When in 1956 the FTC frowned on dual interest and WD activities, Downey voluntarily gave up the warehouse business, selling his interests therein to his sons, Dick and Ray. The elder Downey continued as head of the Herman J. Downey Company, a highly successful agency representing ten major lines, traveling eight salesman and covering the entire Southeastern ten states. In the early 70´s when he was ready to retire he sold his interest to Bill Murray, Sr. who founded Bill Murray & Associates and built the agency into the nation´s premier sales agency, BMÂ.
1956The Downey rootsAre deep in Birmingham Long before the Civil War great, great grandfather David Downey homesteaded on what was the furnaces and mills of the Tennessee Iron and Coal Division of U.S. Steel. He arrived with a band of settlers in a train of thirteen covered wagons. Although Herman had an office in Chicago for a few years, he kept his residence in Birmingham. Although Herman had no stock interest in the company after 1956 Dick and Ray used his name in their firm because he was known to the entire trade and they were proud to be his sons. Motivation and work was not lessened after the brothers entered Auburn University, where each earned degrees. They both were champion wrestlers winning seven conference titles between them. The brothers proved that they were compatible in business. Herman J Downey & Sons expanded their warehouse facilities tens times as they were in 1950. Father Herman was mighty proud of them, they were a great team.
Dick and Ray1970Were approached with an offer they could not refuse from the public traded conglomerate International Telephone and Telegraph Company. They sold their beloved company and became part of the growing national chain of Auto-Wize Warehouses. Dick was promoted over the southeast region which included Florida, Alabama and Tennessee. After a couple of years working under the supervision of accountants who did not know auto parts Dick became dissatisfied and left the company. He had a non -compete in the state of Alabama until 1980 so he relocated to the city where he went to high school, Chattanooga.
1976 Downey Automotive Inc.Opened in 1976 Dick grew the business through hard work and experiences he drew from all his life with his Father and Brother. In 1980 when the non compete period was other brother Ray got out of the auto parts business so that he and Dick would not compete against each other. Dick expanded his business to over 100 stores flying the Downey banner, 40 of which Dick had ownership in. Not only did Dick build his distribution company to one of the strongest in the Southeast, but was instrumental in birthing Auto Value. Today Auto Value is the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance, the premier aftermarket distribution and marketing program in the world..
Dick´s brother RayWas successful in his own right in warehousing and later as an entrepreneur with telecommunication businesses. He had twin sons who followed in his footsteps to Auburn University and on the wrestling team. Ray and Troy were both champion wrestlers from Mountain Brook High School. Both boys had summer jobs working in their Father & Uncles Warehouse , Herman J. Downey & Sons since they were 12 years old. Like their Uncle and Father before them during their summer leave from college they would return to the warehouse for work.
1979TroyGraduated in 1979 from Auburn University he took a brief coaching position in Chattanooga at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Troy soon returned to his automotive roots and took a management position in Dicks new automotive warehouse company. Uncle Dick treated Troy as a son and took him under his wing and taught him all he could. It was a divine appointment. Troy went to Chattanooga to coach wrestling, but The Lord had a future for Troy waiting in auto parts. The next seven years was filled with intense work for Troy as he moved up in Dicks company. Troy moved from the Core Department to the Purchasing Department and later head of the Inventory and all of purchasing. There is where Uncle Dick mentored Troy in the automotive after market trade. Little did they know that these lessons would prove invaluable and pave the way for Troy to open his own business when in 1987 Dick sadly died of cancer at the young age of 52.
One year later1988In 1988 Troy started DAC Co., Downey Automotive Closeout Company. With the relationships that Dick, Ray, Herman and Troy had formed over the past fifty years cleared a path for Troy to be successful continuing their family tradition of honest hard work with outstanding service. Troys Father Ray taught Troy to always do what you say you will do no matter what.
The Old Downey WarehouseIn Chattanooga was bought out by W.D.I. and later sold to UNI-Select. When the new owners quit using the Downey name Troy took up the name and started doing business as Downey Automotive just like his Grand Father Herman and His Uncle Dick before him.