Founded by Jeg Coughlin Sr. in 1960, JEGS Automotive Inc. began as a small performance shop. Jeg Sr. set out to give people exceptional customer service and fair prices on aftermarket car parts. Over time, JEGS’ grassroots-style marketing and commitment to customer care have made the company a high-performance powerhouse, while also leading to its own race team: Team JEGS.
Now featuring a 250,000-square-foot warehouse, JEGS meets a wide variety of automotive needs. From replacement parts and power adders to race gear, apparel, and cleaning items, JEGS responds to consumer demand. So, let’s review some more history to see how JEGS solidified its position in the automotive performance community today.
The catalog played an integral part in JEGS rise to the top of the automotive aftermarket retail arena.
To The Starting Line
With customer satisfaction paramount to success, Jeg had already adopted a great business principle prior to the company’s financial prosperity. For insight, we sought out Ray Stagg, who has been a primary role player in the progress of JEGS’ advertising since 1970.
He recalls, “Jeg Sr.’s dad was an executive at a large retail store in Columbus, Ohio, that ended up being bought by Macy’s. Their philosophy was to provide ultimate customer service. We’ve followed that all these years. We started with a retail store, sold wholesale, and operated a chassis/engine shop.”
Jeg Coughlin Sr. photographed during his drag racing career.
JEGS Automotive Inc. was established with the main objective of supplying the Midwest with easy access to high-performance auto parts. Reaching that goal eventually led to a larger facility and about 350 associates. Selling parts from top brands like K&N, B&M, Moroso, Mickey Thompson, and MSD, JEGS can prioritize customer satisfaction by being a one-stop performance shop with strong vendor partnerships.
“Like any other retailer, we try to provide products at a fair price,” Stagg said. “One of our keys to success is the employees since they are car guys and enthusiasts.”
Also a racer, Jeg drove a blown Chevy-powered 1955 two-door that won him his first national event in 1959. As his driving skills improved, Jeg became an unstoppable force in several drag racing classes.
He participated in Top Fuel, Top Alcohol Dragster and Funny Car, Pro Stock, Pro Comp, and Super Eliminator. Eleven of his thirty race victories were consecutive, and he won four NHRA North Central Division Championships: one Pro Comp (1976) and three AA/Fuel Dragster (1977-79).
Jeg Sr. is an accomplished mechanic, racer, and business entrepreneur.
Stagg remembers Jeg working on cars, catering to customers and racers with equal care. “We built all of our own cars,” Stagg said. “Back in the beginning, Jeg would modify his ’55 Chevy and an Austin gasser. He would show up at drag races and people would ask where he got his parts.”
With Jeg bringing his business to the track, JEGS could gain name recognition and attract potential sponsors. Jeg hired good people and earned the trust of customers by employing professionals, such as drag racer Gordon “Collecting” Collett, a pivotal racing figure known for his starting-line steadiness during the Golden Age of Drag Racing (1959-74).
Collett worked in JEGS’ machine shop, helping Jeg build engines as well as customer loyalty. The best parts, people, and prices.
The Evolution to Print
As with most entities, JEGS had to adapt to survive. “Mail orders started to become a factor,” Stagg said. “We were selling parts wholesale, retail, service department, and in the machine shop, but we hadn’t utilized mail orders to expand distribution.”
Jegs' Product Catalog opened a new arena for marketing the JEGS brand as a whole.
We have really good people that work for us, providing a level of service that customers really enjoy.
– Ray Stagg
When desktop publishing became popular, JEGS purchased a computer, printer, and page-making program to create the JEGS catalog. 1989 marked the inaugural issue and mailing of the JEGS catalog.
“Our first issue, we printed 34,000 copies,” Stagg said. “I thought it was a lot at the time, but now we print about a million copies every two months.”
JEGS introduced a toll-free 800 number in 1991, giving customers the ability to phone in orders without long distance charges. “They can call us, ask questions, and talk about anything from basic parts to a complete engine,” said Stagg.
Never resting on “good enough”, JEGS launched a full-color catalog in 1992, around-the-clock ordering in 1994, and 1-2 day nationwide delivery in 1995.
Although the internet has made ordering easier, the catalog still goes out to keep the faithful fan base intact.
The Arrival of The Digital World
JEGS Catalog Milestones
1989 – First Catalog Published
1991 – Toll Free 1-800 Number Established
1992 – First Full Color Catalog Published
1994 – 24/7 Ordering Policy
1995 – 1-2 Day Nationwide Delivery
2008 – Order By 9pm, Same Day Shipping
2012 – Order By 11pm, Same Day Shipping
2013 – Free Shipping On Items $30 Or More
With print publication at full strength during the 1990s and early 2000s, JEGS took advantage of catalogs and mail order to increase business. Yet, as the World Wide Web exploded, JEGS had some minor changes to make.
“You could see a transition between the amount of orders on the internet,” Stagg reflected. “However, we don’t see the death of the catalog anytime soon.”
From paid search terms to online analytics, JEGS continues to deliver a reliable source for readily available performance parts.
“In today’s world, you’ve got to have standards where a customer can search for parts by make, model, and year. Pricing and availability are also taken into consideration,” explained Stagg.
In 2008, JEGS allowed orders to be placed until 9pm Eastern Standard Time for same-day shipping. Four years later, JEGS pushed the deadline as far as possible: 11pm EST for same-day shipping!
“We have lots of customers that have ordered late at night and called with delight saying it arrived at their doorstep the next morning,” said Stagg. “Then, to sweeten the deal, 2013 welcomed free shipping on orders over $30.”
Customers Come First
Jeg Coughlin Sr. was always thinking outside of the box, not just on cars.
As JEGS celebrates 55 years of healthy growth, superior customer service has been a constant. By keeping pace with aftermarket demands and ever-changing technology, JEGS can focus confidently on the future.
“Whatever needs are out there, we want to position ourselves to be able to provide that service to the performance community,” said Stagg.
Jeg Coughlin Sr. paved the way (with a bit of burnt rubber) for his family to carry on the tradition of second-to-none customer service by offering the best brands at the lowest prices with the fastest shipping. JEGS is prepared to exceed your automotive expectations wherever you are. Don’t forget to visit the JEGS website to discover new high-performance products, additional company information, and Team JEGS racing updates.