KI West­ern Auto cel­e­brates 50 years

Record Observer - - Business - By DOUG BISHOP dbishop@kibay­times.com

STEVENSVILLE — The Kent Is­land West­ern Auto cel­e­brated its 50th an­niver­sary on Satur­day, June 24. The all-en­com­pass­ing auto parts store, in­clud­ing mul­ti­ple-ser vice bays, con­tin­ues to serve the com­mu­nity. The KI lo­ca­tion was opened in 1967 by the late Fred Wam­pler. Three months af­ter open­ing in the for­mer “Acme Shop­ping Cen­ter,” the Kent Is­land Shop­ping Cen­ter, Wam­pler turned man­age­ment and own­er­ship of the fran­chise over to Mau­rice Sanger of Cen­tre­ville.

Sanger even­tu­ally moved the West­ern Auto in 1971 to its cur­rent loca- tion, also in Stevensville, but to what had been the for­mer Amer­i­can Mo­tors Cor­po­ra­tion deal­er­ship site. Sanger had been the owner, then part-owner of the KI lo­ca­tion un­til re­cently.

In 1979, cur­rent owner Doby Mid­dle­ton was hired at the KI West­ern Auto. By 1985, Mid­dle­ton be­came a man­ag­ing part­ner of that KI West­ern Auto, pur­chas­ing in­creas­ing per­cent­ages of the own­er­ship as the years went for­ward. Doby’s wife, Linda, joined the busi­ness in 1999 as sec­re­tary and ac­coun­tant. Both Doby and Linda are full own­ers of the lo­ca­tion now.

For many years, the Mid­dle­tons have been very ac­tive in sup­port­ing the com­mu­nity with events hosted at the KI West­ern Auto. Ev­ery year, the Kent Is­land Cruis­ers an­tique car club hosts its Spring Fling Car Show there. The Mid­dle­tons, who were Boy Scout lead­ers while their two sons were grow­ing up, have hosted many free “Auto Me­chanic 101” clin­ics for Scout troops in the area over the years to help ed­u­cate youth on proper main­te­nance and car care.

The Mid­dle­tons are na­tive to the Eastern Shore, hav­ing grown up in Tal­bot County. Doby is cur­rently vice pres­i­dent of the KI Cruis­ers, a for­mer mem­ber of the KI Lions Club, and coached youth base­ball for 15 years, again, as the cou­ple’s boys grew up. Linda and Doby are ac­tive eques­tri­ans, and Linda serves as vice pres­i­dent of Tuck­a­hoe Eques­trian Cen­ter near Tuck­a­hoe State Park.

PHOTO BY MIKE DAVIS

More than a year ago the Em­ployee Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and Morale Com­mit­tee in the Queen Anne’s County De­part­ment of Hu­man Re­sources be­gan work­ing on a video to show for new county em­ploy­ees re­view­ing the ex­pec­ta­tions for cus­tomer ser­vice in all the de­part­ments. Dur­ing the County Com­mis­sion­ers’ June 13 meet­ing, em­ploy­ees who par­tic­i­pated in the video were rec­og­nized for their ef­forts. Not all were in at­ten­dance. Those rec­og­nized were as fol­lows: Jennifer Stans­bury, Su­san Earls, Austin Bar­rett, Deb­bie Birch, La­toya Brooks, Shawn Duck­ery, Jean Fabi, Ryan Glenn, Nancy Haggerty, Jennifer MacGlashan, Michael Miller, Sarah Miller, Bill Moore, Ni­cole Saia, Brenda San­ford, Amy Steiger­wald, Deb­bie Tow­ers, Ted McNeil and Bruce Grove.

PHOTO BY DOUG BISHOP

The Kent Is­land West­ern Auto cel­e­brated 50th an­niver­sary on Satur­day. June 24. The store opened in 1967. One of the original own­ers Mau­rice Sanger of Cen­tre­ville holds the scis­sors. To the left, cur­rent own­ers Linda and Doby Mid­dle­ton. Also pic­tured, be­hind Sanger, State Del­e­gate Steve Arentz, and Sen. Ben Cardin li­ai­son Kimberly Kra­tovil along with many fam­ily mem­bers and West­ern A\uto staff. Not pic­tured but present, QA Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Di­rec­tor Paige Til­gh­man and Mary­land De­part­ment of Com­merce rep­re­sen­ta­tive Deb­bie Boada

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