THE JEGS STORY
In the late 1950s, Jeg Coughlin Sr. was consumed by the burgeoning hot rod culture in America and like many youngsters, he was constantly looking for ways to make his own cars quicker and faster. At the time, that meant ordering the latest and greatest go-fast parts from some faraway place, usually located on the West Coast, and then suffering through an agonizing wait to get them in the mail.
Being located in the Midwest, there simply weren’t any other options, so Coughlin played the mail-order game and, bit by bit, began dominating everyone at the local drag strip with his newly-acquired parts. People were taking notice and Coughlin realized there was a huge demand for high-performance parts that simply wasn’t being met.
Fueled with passion, Coughlin opened JEGS Speed Shop in 1960 on 11th Avenue in downtown Columbus, Ohio. From those humble beginnings, the company thrived for nearly 30 years until Coughlin sold his business to his four sons — John, Troy, Mike and Jeg Jr. — who took the operation to a worldwide audience. Now, 60 years since its start, JEGS sends millions of parts a year to customers across the globe.
“It’s been a phenomenal ride,” said Jeg Sr., who turns 82 in 2020. “When you think about starting out as a little project all those years back and then look at our facilities now, it humbles you. I credit the boys with much of our success. I ran the thing for 27 years and then sold it to them and they’ve since increased annual sales from about $20 million-a-year to a several hundred million-a-year. That speaks volumes to the work they’ve done.
“I’m especially proud of the fact we’ve used the business to make our family closer than most. Between the family aspect of what we do and the good business decisions we’ve collectively made, to me that’s been the difference.”
Through the years, JEGS graduated from the small speed shop on 11th Avenue, which is still serving customers, to a 85,000 square-foot facility that eventually gave way to a massive state-of-the-art world headquarters and distribution center in the Columbus suburb of Delaware, Ohio.