O'Reilly Automotive, Inc. officially started in the auto parts business in Springfield, Missouri, in November 1957.
The company's history began with Charles Francis O'Reilly, a traveling salesman for Fred Campbell Auto Supply in St. Louis. By 1924, Charles had become familiar with the Springfield area, having traveled by train to sell auto parts throughout the territory. He recognized the region as an area of growth and opportunity and asked to be transferred there. By 1932, he had become manager of Link Motor Supply in Springfield. One of his sons, Charles H. (Chub) O'Reilly, had also joined the company. Together they provided the leadership and management that made Link the predominant auto parts store in the area.
In 1957, Link planned a reorganization, which would have included the retirement of 72-year-old Charles F. O'Reilly, and the transfer of C. H. O'Reilly to Kansas City. Since neither agreed with these plans, they made the decision to form their own company, O'Reilly Automotive, Inc. They started in November 1957 with one store and 13 employees at 403 Sherman in Springfield. Their sales totaled $700,000 in 1958, their first full year of business. Due to the hard work and ability of the original employees, several of whom were stockholders in the company, the business grew and prospered from its very first year.
By 1961, the company's volume had reached $1.3 million, a figure which indicates the combined volume of O'Reilly Automotive and Ozark Automotive Distributors, a division which had been formed to serve independent automotive jobbers in the area. In March 1975, annual sales volume had risen to $7 million and a modern, 52,000-square-foot (4,800 m2) facility at 233 S. Patterson Ave. was built for the O'Reilly/Ozark warehouse operation. By that time, the company had a total of nine stores, all located in the southwest Missouri area.
On April 23, 1993, the company completed an Initial Public Offering of common stock, and it now trades in the NASDAQ system under the symbol ORLY. In addition to stock for sale to the general public, the company also has a stock purchase plan to enable as many team members as possible to own stock in the company.
On January 30, 1998, O'Reilly merged with Hi/LO Auto Supply, adding 190 auto parts stores in Texas and Louisiana, as well as a distribution center in Houston, Texas. The Hi/LO acquisition made O'Reilly one of the top ten auto parts chains in the country.
On April 25, 2000, O'Reilly Auto Parts announced the purchase of KarPro Auto Parts, which includes 66,000-square-foot (6,100 m2) distribution center in Little Rock, Arkansas, and 14 KarPro stores.
On October 1, 2001, O'Reilly purchased Mid-State Automotive Distributors, Inc., adding 85 auto parts stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee as well as four distribution centers in Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Pensacola. The acquisition made O'Reilly one of the top five auto parts chains in the country. O'Reilly added its 11th distribution center in Atlanta, Georgia in March 2005.
Today, the company has more than 3,469 stores in 38 states. Total sales were $4.8 billion for the year ending 2009.
Executive officers of the company include David O'Reilly, chairman of the board; Greg Henslee, chief executive officer and co-president; Ted Wise, chief operating officer and co-president; and Tom McFall, executive vice-president and chief financial officer.
Below are revenue and operating profit figures, as well as store metrics for ORLY. Top line growth has been 11.7% compounded over the previous 5 years. Additionally, the company has also been successful at increasing efficiency with modestly increasing sales per store and sales per square feet from 2002 to 2006; most growth has come from opening new stores. 
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