Meeting our 2019 Distributor of the Year finalists: Kentucky Truck Parts

Kentucky Truck Parts started at the dinner table. The Christmas dinner table to be exact. When the Gregg family joined together to celebrate the 2015 holiday.

Connor Gregg doesn’t remember who brought it up first, if it was him or his brothers John and Colin but, eventually, he says the holiday conversation ended up being about the trio and their careers.

John was managing a small fleet, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather who had worked in the trucking industry. He was running seven or eight trucks at the time. It was a modest business, but also an exhausting one.

Connor says John was feeling burned out. He adds he was, too. Connor was working for an auto parts distributor. He looks back fondly on the work — he wouldn’t be selling parts now if he didn’t like selling parts then, he says — but like John, he found himself at a career crossroads. Already passed over for a manager position when a boss told him he was “too young” to run a store at 19, Connor wanted more out of his career.

“We had just kind of gotten tired with where we were in our jobs,” says Connor, now 26. “We wanted to do something different. Something for ourselves.”

By this point he says the brothers’ dinner conversation had transformed. What had started as venting was now business planning. Four months later with one vendor, a half-pallet of brake shoes and a lot of tenacity, the trio formally opened Kentucky Truck Parts in Glasgow, Ky.

“I think when we first opened, people definitely had questions. There hadn’t been a business like ours that had opened in our area and been able to stay open for more than a couple months in a while,” says Connor, the company’s vice president. “I don’t think people knew what to expect.”

Connor admits the Greggs didn’t, either.

But they weren’t entering the market blind. John knew heavy-duty trucking; Connor knew distribution; and their youngest brother Colin was a whiz with light trucks and pickups. The brothers also understood customer service. Connor says the brothers pride themselves on the lengths they will go to find, acquire and deliver parts to customers.

“If you call us, we will always find a way to get it to you,” he says.

Connor says it was Colin’s salesmanship in delivering that message that was key in getting the business off the ground. The youngest Gregg drew friends and acquaintances into the store in droves.

“Colin could sell a popsicle to an Eskimo,” Connor says.

The early light truck success also helped the business gain a foothold before the region’s heavy-duty customers arrived a few months later. Connor says that’s when business really took off. Kentucky Truck Parts has already outgrown its first facility and is searching for a larger building to put down roots.

“John is 32, I’m 26 and Colin is 23,” says Connor. “I think customers who have met us understand we’re not just doing this as a thing. We plan to stick around. We are serious about growing this business.”

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