Golden Years of Speed and Service
For more than 50 years, the name JEGS has been synonymous with high performance racing parts, dating back to 1960 when Jeg Coughlin Sr. opened the doors of JEGS High Performance at a small, non-descript shop in downtown Columbus, Ohio.
Little did he know at the time, but Coughlin was on the precipice of something great. Limited by his Midwest location and unable to find the parts he needed to produce the desired level of performance in his own hot rods, the speed hound searched far and wide to unearth what he was looking for -- the very best parts in the country. Dedicated legwork and ingenuity quickly established Coughlin as the go-to guy for high performance parts in Central Ohio, and what began simply as building and tweaking engines for buddies soon became a full-fledged retail business.
Nearly three decades after Coughlin's original speed shop was born, he helped his four sons, John, Troy, Mike, and Jeg Jr., purchase the operation, and under their collective guidance the small family business became a mail order giant. The original 4,000 square-foot shop now encompasses a 100,000 square-foot warehouse, a chassis shop, a call center, and the original retail store on the very grounds where it all began.
A second store and two additional call centers are also located in the metropolitan Columbus area, and 10 years ago, a massive state-of-the-art distribution center and world headquarters were opened. JEGS now employs more than 350 associates yet maintains the founding company culture of a small, family-run speed shop that continues to preserve a one-on-one relationship with each customer.
"It's been a phenomenal ride," Jeg Sr. said as he reflected on the company's growth. "When you think about starting out as a little project all these years back and then look at our facilities now, it humbles you. I credit the boys with so much of our success. I ran the thing for 27 years and then sold it to them and they turned around and took us from a $20 million-a-year shop to a $200 million-a-year company. That speaks volumes to the work they've done.
"I'm especially proud of the fact we've taken this business and used it to make our family closer than most. Between the family aspect of what we do and the good decisions we've collectively made along the way, to me that's been the difference."
Jeg Jr., the youngest of the four brothers who run JEGS Mail Order, has watched it all come together.
"Like most businesses that do well, we've been fortunate enough to have great people working with us through the years," Jeg Jr. said. "I think we now have 25 or so employees that have been with us for at least 20 years with a few of them in the 30 and 40-year range. They're all a big part of this and they're as much a part of the equation as anyone in the Coughlin family.
"We're now starting to see a third generation of Coughlin's and multiple generations of associates coming into the business and that's exciting too because you can see that this deal is going to continue on for many more years."
A good portion of the decades of success for JEGS can be attributed to the quality of products they offer, and the knowledgeable associates identify firsthand with what they are selling the customer because they use those same parts themselves.
A third generation of Coughlins is expanding the JEGS brand into new markets. John's son Cody already has earned a title in USAC .25 Midgets and now drives a Late Model Stock Car in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour. Several other younger Coughlins enjoy competing in NHRA Jr. Dragsters, reaching fellow drivers that begin racing as early as 8 years old.
The Sportsman-level and bracket racing cars of John, Troy, Mike, Jeg Jr., and Troy Jr. are frequent test beds for new parts under evaluation. JEGS also carries a line of Jegster suspension parts that are designed, developed, and manufactured at the original 11th Avenue shop.
In keeping with the comfortable "walk in and buy" theme established so many years ago, JEGS has several retail stores throughout Columbus, but the bulk of the business happens at their headquarters in the Columbus suburb of Delaware, Ohio. The expansive main building is more than 200,000 square-feet and is divided between offices in the front and an enormous, automated warehouse in the rear.
The impressive front area includes all of the administrative offices, a bank of knowledgeable sales associates, and a unique cafeteria that looks like a racing-themed restaurant, and the warehouse and order-processing layout is exceptionally efficient and effective.
An automated shipping department is filled with well-organized parts racks that run the length of the enormous warehouse and stretch to the top of the 50-foot ceiling. All parts are stored in very specific locations to ease the shipping process, and the computer-automated retrieval system, packaging, and shipping assembly lines are enhanced with modern technology for heightened efficiency.
Once a customer places an order online or over the phone, the order is processed and instructions are sent electronically to the warehouse to pick parts off of the shelves in a three-level flow rack system, the automated retrieval system, and the large VNA racking area. Everything funnels down onto a conveyor so that all the parts for one order end up at the same place at the same time. Your items are then boxed, weighed to make sure everything is accounted for, labeled, and sent to the out-bound shipping area to be loaded onto the trailer of the assigned logistics carrier.
It seems that 52 years is just the beginning for JEGS and Team JEGS racing as the second and third generations of Coughlins are racing straight line and circle tracks.
"In today's day and age I think it's pretty impressive to reach 50 years of being in business," Jeg. Jr. said. "It speaks to the hundreds of wonderful associates we've had over the years and the consistency of product and service we've provided to our loyal customers.
"Dad started this little speed shop in downtown Columbus with two employees and a big dream and now 50-plus years later we catalog thousands of parts and deliver millions of packages overnight worldwide. It's pretty incredible to stop and think about how far we've come in the last half century."
Would you like to learn more about JEGS?
See What "JEGS IS". More than just great parts.
Check out the JEGS RACING EDUCATION section and hub for downloadable PDF Illustrations.