KI Western Auto celebrates 50 years
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.
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.
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