Welby Warriner’s pursuit of the American Dream started in a wooden shed with dirt floors.

He was working full-time at Graham Todd Buick, in Columbus, and later, in Shelbyville, at Chamber AirCraft. But when he was not working he was the go-to-man in Hope for auto repair, as he was a knowledgeable and gifted mechanic, earning him the nickname of “Doc.” He quickly secured a large customer base of residents and farmers which led him and his wife, Peggy, to entertain the idea of opening a shop and wondering if they could make it as small business owners.

While beginning their family in the late 60s, they took the leap and opened an auto parts and service shop on Cross Street. Peggy recalls first building the block building which has been expanded and adapted over time to accommodate their changing business.

Peggy who has happily come out of retirement to help with business operations said, “We are the true American Dream, starting with nothing and working to have a business that has operated for over fifty years.”

From the start, Peggy would cook three hot meals for the W-W Auto crew and played an integral role in the success of the daily operations of the business. Over time, W-W Auto grew from offering auto service and repair to selling salvaged parts and operating a towing business as well as opening a second business location in the eighties.

Recalling the blizzard of 1978, “We didn’t see him for days. He’d be home long enough to eat and then was back out in it.”

Welby knew hard work and lived hard work, but not everyone was cut out from what was required with them.

“We’d hire someone and they’d be gone by lunch,” says Peggy.

Over time, their customer base proved to be very loyal. Before consumers could find parts on the internet, W-W Auto Parts was the tri-state area’s destination to those searching for four-wheel-drive parts.

Welby passed away in 2003 after operating the business for over thirty years. Their son, Dean, and his wife, Tracy, have played a key role in sustaining the business and helping it continue to grow in the last two decades.

“Since he was nine or ten years old Dean has always been here in the shop, and he has carried the load. He’s very talented like his dad. A lot of things have changed,” Peggy admits.

But W-W Auto has embraced and adapted to the changing world of automotive service and repair. A third generation Warriner, Kyle, has been a leading force in this shift.

“He operates the computer side of things,” says Peggy.

While some people still come to the yard to purchase parts, most of their sales now take place on eBay and a salvage yard exchange website, Hollander Parts. A map hanging in their office has colored coded pins designating which customers have visited their shop in-person and which ones have only seen Hope on a map. W-W Auto have regular e-commerce customers as far away as Australia and New Zealand.

The family is proud that their business helps contribute to the town’s commerce, “We bring people to the town. They come to our shop and then go downtown to eat or visit local shops.”

The current COVID pandemic has actually helped business.

“People were home working on projects and could shop on the internet,” Kyle asserted.

Even without the recent surge in online orders W-W Auto is encouraged that their current operation offers opportunity for expansion and the possibility of many more decades of operation.

“We may even have a fourth generation running it someday,” Peggy beamed.

And while they do ship parts all over the world, their business still maintains a local element as they, over the years, have supplied practice training cars for schools and firefighters. The Warriner family prides themselves on being a family-based, customer service oriented business.

“We live here. We love our community and we are proud of our business, ” says Peggy.