Keith and Ken Romig, who own Morgantown Auto Parts, celebrated 25 years in business by offering a free lunch to the public on Sept. 6.
Sandwiches, cold salads, drinks, and snacks were offered under several tents and tables set up in the shop parking lot. Parked cars overflowed onto South Mulberry Street as dozens of patrons came and went. Some were passing through and helped themselves to a soft drink and a scoop of macaroni salad, while others came to enjoy a meal and congratulate the Romigs and their employees on a quarter century of good commerce.
Ken Romig, co-owner and President of the Morgantown NAPA, first began working at the shop at 108 S. Mulberry St. as a summer job between his college classes. Once he finished with school in 1987, Ken, along with his father Lester, purchased the business (then a Big A Auto Parts) from its owner, John Zajac. In 1998 the shop changed to a NAPA franchise and Keith, who was employed at the shop, came in as a co-owner in 1999 following the passing away of Lester Romig. Regardless of the brand on the sign, the Romig’s have always tied a portion of their success to their employee’s experience.
“Most of the guys here have been here forever,” Ken said of his staff, “Our head counter man Tony Palopoli, he’s been here 12 years, and most of us have been here, off and on, for about twenty years.”
“We have a staff that really knows their stuff, and they are very people-oriented too,” said Keith. “Tony — he has at least 30 years of experience in the business. We really get most of our business from repeat customers, and that’s because of the quality of our service.”
William Winn of Morgantown and Gene Yelk of Elverson have been long-time customers of Morgantown Auto Parts. They came out for lunch and to show their support for the Romigs on the 25th anniversary of their business. Both Winn and Yelk typically work on older cars and have been pleased with their past experiences as customers.
“I pretty much buy everything here,” said Winn. “They treat you good here and they are always willing to help you out by looking up information on the problems you are having. (I feel like I) have a good relationship with them. I play with a lot of old stuff and they really help out with the paint and the body materials I need.”
“This is where I come for my auto body parts,” Yelk said, “Dealing with (Morgantown Auto Parts) has been good for me. They do a really great job matching the paint I need for antique cars.”
Another helpful factor for attracting business is the Romigs’ activity level in the community. Keith serves as Chief of the Twin Valley Fire Department, and Ken has a history in both the fire department and youth athletic organizations in the area. Their shop has always contributed to the community, such as sponsorships.
“I used to help coach baseball (in youth leagues) and even helped get football started at Twin Valley. We frequently provide donations to organization that need it, it is nice to have a small business in the area that lets you do that,” said Ken.
Their outlook is both a show of support for the community they grew up in and a show of personal support for their friends and neighbors - many who are like-mindedly generous with what limited free time they have.