Address: 1550 Innovation Drive, Dubuque, IA 52002
Hours: Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday: 8 a.m.noon
Teddy Jo Faley has the part someone is looking for.
He’s devoted 100,000 square-feet of storage space to guarantee it.
Since 1962, Faley’s family business, IWI Motor Parts, has built up to become a major automotive part wholesale distribution company in the tri-state area and beyond.
With a little more than 250 employees and 14 locations, the business has grown dramatically since its early days of selling filters out of a station wagon.
“It’s been every emotion that you can have,” said Faley, the company’s president and owner. “Sometimes it was scary. Sometimes it was a lot of fun, but it was always a lot of hard work.”
IWI Motor Parts acts as the primary supplier of automotive parts for more than 3,000 car dealerships, mechanics and automotive centers through eastern Iowa, southwest Wisconsin and western Illinois. Every day, the company transports thousands of parts to numerous businesses seeking to repair customers’ vehicles.
“We supply the parts needed to fix all the cars locally,” Faley said. “There’s no way that any single car dealer or automotive center could hold every needed part for a car, so we make sure to have it on hand for them.”
The company was founded by Faley’s father, Mike Faley, who ran the business out of his mother’s garage in Dubuque. Teddy Jo said his father would travel from gas station to gas station, largely selling oil filters.
At the time, cars were less complicated feats of engineering. Ford cars all shared the same Ford oil filters, while the Dodge-Chrysler family of cars all had a filter of their own. When it came to individual manufacturers, it was largely a one-size-fits-all model, Faley said. As time has gone on, cars have become more complex in their design, and the number of unique parts made for each make and model of a vehicle has expanded dramatically.
“We used to have only a few different types of oil filters,” Faley said. “Now, I have hundreds of different oil filters to fit all the different types of cars out there.”
IWI has looked to meet this increasing complexity by expanding outward with new warehouse locations in order to fit its ever-expanding supply, including Iowa locations in Cascade and Dyersville, along with Wisconsin locations in Lancaster and Platteville.
Faley joined the family business in 2003 and became president in 2008. He said his company reaches automotive centers throughout the tri-state area and beyond, with freight deliveries regularly making their way to Decorah, Iowa, and Rockford, Ill.
Most recently, the company has made an effort to increase its presence in Southwest Wisconsin.
Faley said IWI Motor Parts has established itself as a reliable supplier of quality parts, never settling for knock-off products. It’s a devotion to quality that the company needs to give an edge over larger competitors.
“We are competing with national companies,” Faley said. “They have thousands of stores, so we are going to guarantee that we aren’t going to sell you something from China that was reverse engineered.”
For several Dubuque mechanics and automotive centers, IWI is the best option for parts.
Ron Vaughn, owner of Vaughn’s Automotive in Dubuque, said he has been a customer of IWI Motor Parts for 26 years, largely because of their reliability and devotion to quality.
“They always stand behind their parts,” Vaughn said. “It’s always nice to be able to put an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) part on.”
Mark Merfeld, co-owner of Merfeld Brothers Automotive in Dubuque, said he has purchased parts from IWI since starting his business in 2004 and praised the company’s variety of choices.
“They have quality parts and the staff have always been helpful,” Merfeld said. “They have always been our go-to.”
Faley said he intends to continue to expand the footprint of IWI. While the complexity of vehicles and the number of parts may continue to expand, Faley said it’s a challenge that he and his employees are more than happy to take on.
“We are really proud of the work we have done,” Faley said. “The business has been a leap of faith, and it’s great when something like that works.”