Wholesale & Distribution International - Winter 2018 - 26
Holston Gases has locations in six states and
sells products daily into 11 states.
the flavor you'd find in a small independent company," Anders says.
"One problem many independent distributors face is not having the financial
capability to compete in the market, but
what they do really well is build relationships with their customers," he adds. "Our
local offices retain the local flavor and get
to know their customers, but they also
benefit from our large arsenal of assets."
Many of the regional managers and
employees have worked for Holston Gases for several years. "The longevity of our
employees is what I think we're proudest
of," Anders says. "We have 12 people who
just celebrated 30 years or more year, and
the average tenure here is 14 to 15 years.
"We have excellent ownership that
looks at Holston Gases not just as a vehicle for the owners' family to achieve what
they need to in their lives, but also as a
vehicle for our 350 employees to provide
for their families," he adds. "Our owners
know that what is good for the employee
is good for the company."
26 www.wdimagazine.com Winter 2018
DECADES OF EXPANSION
Holston Gases' services and history of
strong financial management are helping
the company reach its 60th anniversary,
which it is celebrating this year.
"We have stayed focused on our core
principles and values of bringing quality
service and products into the marketplace and being financially wise with our
resources and assets so we can weather
lows in the economy and invest when
expansion opportunities become available," Anders says.
Partners Pat Baxter and Bob Walsh
founded the company in 1958. Baxter became sole owner of the company in 1976,
and his son, Bill Baxter, joined the company in 1981. Soon after that, the company
began to grow significantly. Anders, who
formerly worked for industrial gas supplier the BOC Group, was recruited in 1990
following Holston Gases' acquisition of
another distributor, M.G. Industries.
Since joining the company, Anders has
helped oversee its further expansion.
Holston Gases has grown both through
acquisition as well as organically. The
company's propane business, which
includes 1.2 million gallons of ground
storage and a rail terminal, has especially helped it expand. Holston Gases'
recent acquisitions include two propane
companies in Spartanburg, S.C., and an
industrial gas and welding supply company in Nashville.
"We don't dabble in propane, we get
into it in a very big way, and that has doubled our opportunities for acquisition,"
Anders says. "If we buy a propane company, we can roll our industrial gas and supply business into it very quickly, and if we
buy a supply company, we can easily incorporate our propane business. We have
two target markets for acquisition, while
most companies in our industry have just
one market to pursue."
FAIR AND DISCIPLINED
The company maintains long-term relationships with a number of suppliers