Bob Wenzinger, director of the PPG Platinum Distributor program, presented the award at the annual PPG Platinum Distributor Conference held recently at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas. The conference brought together distributors from across the United States and Canada.
Southern Auto Color owners David and Tammy Kenimer and Tasco Auto Color President David Abrahams and Vice President Lee Martinez accepted the awards. Also taking part in the presentation were PPG representatives Michael McGarry, chairman and CEO; John Outcalt, vice president, global automotive refinish; and Greg Benckart, vice president, automotive refinish, Americas.
“The Distributor of the Year award epitomizes the tradition and success of the Platinum Distributor program, and 2016 presented a remarkable situation,” Wenzinger said. “We had two organizations that were exceptional in their performance over the course of the year. While they differ in size, they were both standouts in their operations and execution, customer service and support. Southern and Tasco excelled in every area. To give the award to just one company would have been a disservice to the other. It is our privilege to honor Southern Auto Color and Tasco Auto Color as the 2016 Platinum Distributors of the Year.”
Tammy Kenimer said, “I was surprised and thrilled when I heard our name announced. Everyone at Southern Auto Color works hard to represent the PPG name and support our customers. We are grateful to have our efforts recognized. We’re like a big family, and everyone under our roof deserves credit for this award.”
Southern Auto Color was established by the Kenimers in 1985 in Gainesville as a parts and paint store. In 1988, Southern opted to sell only PPG paint. In just a few years it earned Platinum Distributor status. Today, with more than 20 employees and four strategic locations in Northeast Georgia, Southern Auto Color maintains a reputation for making customer support its highest priority. The company is dedicated to continuous staff training, staying on top of industry advances and taking advantage of PPG's MVP Business Solutions program offerings whenever possible. Customers have come to regard Southern Auto Color staff members as the experts in automotive refinishing, a designation supported by a high customer-retention rate.
Tasco Auto Color won previously in 2005—the only Platinum Distributor to win the award twice. A contingent of 14 Tasco staff members attended the conference. The company was started in Houston in 1953 by Charlie Barrington under the name Barrington and Son Auto Parts. Charlie’s stepson, Tom, joined him in 1958. The company grew into a multistore operation and opened the first Tasco-named store in 1970. Tasco—an acronym for Tom’s Auto Supply Company—had expanded to six locations in 1983, when it began selling PPG automotive finishes. Since it opened its doors, Tasco Auto Color and its more than 300 employees have staked the company’s success on building trusting relationships with customers and delivering attentive service along with high-quality paint and repair products. The efforts have paid off: Tasco now operates in 25 locations across Texas, Louisiana and Tennessee. While operating on a different scale, Tasco, like Southern Auto Color, is committed to staying at the forefront of the refinish industry by benefiting from the advanced training and assistance PPG provides.
“We are humbled by PPG’s recognition of our accomplishments,” Abrahams said. “Our founder always believed in quality products, quality clients and quality people in our organization. The solid relationships we have with our customers and PPG allow us to be successful.”
The PPG Platinum Distributor program began in 1995 as a loyalty and support initiative for PPG single-line distributors, with the ultimate goal of providing exceptional service and benefits for PPG customers. The program delivers competitive advantages to its participants by aligning the technology, training and customer support of PPG with the entrepreneurship, customer awareness, local market knowledge and service capability of the independent distributor.