John Medkeff admits to having a thing about statues.
After all, the Delaware author and beer historian has been the force behind the long-running effort to restore the King Gambrinus statue that once graced a Wilmington brewery.
When Medkeff saw a vacant Pep Boys store on Kirkwood Highway, he had a feeling that something might happen to the statue of a somber Manny, Joe, and Jack and snapped the above photo.
The founders of the auto parts and repair empire had stood atop the building for decades.
This version of the trio who opened the first Pep Boys in Philadelphia back in the 1920s were clad in what looked to be lettermen’s sweaters. Other statues include work duds and Manny holding a tire.
Long gone is Manny’s trademark cigar, which disappeared in the ’90s.
The store spaces were vacated by the 1,000-store Pep Boys chain under the ownership of Carl Icahn.
Icahn made his billions as a “corporate raider” who buys stock in an underperforming company and pressures management to wring out more profits.
In a few cases, like Pep Boys, he buys an entire company and has management doing the slicing and dicing.
Under Icahn, age 85, Pep Boys has exited the parts business and now focuses on repairing vehicles at adjacent service bays. In a few areas, Pep Boys is opening newly built service centers with a spot for electric vehicles.
It’s a profitable business, given the advanced age of the average vehicle in the U.S.
Auto parts space at existing centers are being converted to stores for Auto Zone and other parts giants that had been eating Manny, Moe, and Jack’s lunch under Icahn’s watch.
As for the location or the overall fate of the statue, I have a message into Pep Boys corporate and hope to hear back.
In the meantime, any leads are welcome. Hopefully, Manny, Moe, and Jack are now hanging out with Rodney Square’s Caesar Rodney statue in some undisclosed location. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.