History of Rotary

Bill W Nelson
William "Bill" Nelson
Distribution Manufacturing About Rotary Home

What started over 60 years ago in J.D. Harvey's Southeastern Georgia garage has grown to encompass eight buildings, covering nearly one-half million square feet in eight locations. How's that for growth?  

Today over 500 employees work with pride to provide the highest quality products available on earth, backed with superior customer service that is second to none - period! Rotary now delivers parts to customers in all 50 states and over 68 countries throughout Europe, Asia, South America, Canada, Australia and Africa. Its long-standing relationships with these customers are the foundation of Rotary's renowned tradition of excellence, a tradition that started when JD ("Georgia Boy") began selling replacement parts to auto parts stores and lawn mower dealers in 1957 literally from the trunk of his car.

By 1960, Mr. Harvey had moved his business, then called "Rotary Mower Parts", from his garage into a nearby rented storehouse. By 1964 he moved the business to a larger local warehouse. With excellent sales ability, Mr. Harvey got his fledgling company off to a phenomenal start.

 His nephew, Bill Nelson, the son of a local auto parts jobber, bought the growing company, Rotary Mower Parts and Manufacturing Co., a decade later. With keen vision, an entrepreneurial spirit, strong work ethic, determination and high principles, Bill Nelson later renamed the company to Rotary Corporation, improved product quality, acquired competitive lines, opened distribution centers across the United States and expanded internationally. Yet he never forgot the community in which he lived, being very generous with his time and funds, and more importantly, allowing his employees to be involved in church, school-related, and community-minded activities. "The awards we have won don't really mean that much compared with a few things we have helped the community and industry achieve," Mr. Nelson said in Oct. 1993. Nelson built his company on good "old-fashioned" principles - that customer satisfaction was more than mere words, an insistence on the highest quality of employees, and a requirement that everyone associated with his company take infinite pride in producing a quality product. He ensured that the customer was satisfied in every way. We fondly remember and salute this remarkable leader and patriarch.

This new millennium, with Bill's son, Ed Nelson, at the helm, Rotary Corporation will continue exploring avenues to maintain a significant world-wide presence in the outdoor power equipment industry. Quality products and service will remain the guiding forces.

After all, that's how we became the world's largest supplier of outdoor power equipment aftermarket parts and accessories.


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