An O'Neill business has reached a milestone this past week with the 75th anniversary of ownership of O'Neill Auto Supply by the Carroll family.
Al Carroll, the man who started the business, grew up in Sioux City, IA. He was discharged from the U.S. Navy in 1946 and moved his family to Norfolk. There Carroll went to work for Norfolk Auto Supply. Les Scheer, the owner of Norfolk Auto, asked Al if he would like to own his own business and then assisted Al in getting started in O'Neill. The first location of O'Neill Auto was at 303 E. Douglas.
Originally there were four partners in the business, but by 1966, Al was the sole owner of O'Neill Auto Supply.
In 1973, Al moved the business to the building he built, located at 1302 E. Douglas in east O'Neill.
Al's son Robert was 11 years old when the family moved to O'Neill and has been involved with all aspects of the business for 60 of the 75 years they've been in business. Robert took full ownership of the company after Al's passing in 1992.
Robert Carroll credits the business's success to his dad's hard work, loyal customers, and exceptional employees. "Some of our employees who have been with the company for over 25 years were Forest Riley who was with us from 1947 until 1986, Max Jeffers 1957 until 1986 and John Schmidt 1957 until 1985.
"We currently have two employees that have been with us for more than 25 years. Keith Welding has been with us since 1982 and Paul Schwindt has been with us since 1986," said Carroll.
The legacy continues with Robert's daughter, Jennifer Abbott, who moved back to O'Neill and went to work for her dad in 2011.
"I was like my dad and was brought up around the business and worked here as a teenager doing odd jobs around the shop to help out, and now I am carrying on the family business," said Abbott.
O'Neill Auto is grateful to the community of O'Neill and surrounding communities for their business and loyalty and their employees for their dedication and hard work.