Location: Baltimore, MD
President and CEO
“When the company was founded in 1945 by my grandfather, Jack Sutton, the business was run on the principle that each individual, customer, co-worker or vendor deserved to be treated with respect,” says Ron Sutton, president and CEO of Standard Auto Parts Corp. “Jack had a saying: ‘You can’t sell from an empty wagon.’ To this day, our inventory strategies are based on always having in stock what the customers request.”
“I repeatedly express to my family members that there are no expectations for them to join the family business. It’s here if they decide to join, but there’s no obligation,” says Sutton. “My reasoning is that if someone is conditioned to follow an expected path in life, it could dampen their creativity and thereby inadvertently their choices. If they decide to join the family business on their own accord, they are welcome to do so after working for another company first.”
Fun Fact: “Boogie Weinglass (whose early life was portrayed by Mickey Rourke in Diner) was married to my aunt and worked in our North Avenue store before leaving for Atlanta and founding the billion-dollar clothing chain Merry-Go-Round.”
“After Jack retired, I sat down with my father, Bill Sutton, to start a discussion on how to divide the business responsibilities,” says Ron Sutton. “I pulled out a single sheet of paper and drew a line down the middle, placing Bill’s name on the top left and mine on the top right. I then interviewed Bill, asking him what areas of the business he liked to manage and proceeded to list them on his side.”
“I want Standard Auto Parts to maintain its legacy of excellence through respect of fellow human beings,” says Sutton.