The history of Tri-States Automotive Warehouse, Inc. is one of the longest of any business in this city. We are a third generation, privately held, family owned business. The earliest records take us back to July, 1946, when Fred and Mary Henson bought an existing auto parts store and established Marianna Auto Parts and Supply Company.
The untimely death of Mr. Henson in 1958 was a great shock and loss to the company. Fortunately Mary had good employees, and together they ran the business until her marriage to Jim Rule of Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1959. Jim's area of expertise lay in sales and store expansion, and in a few years they had grown to a total of four stores. At this point the need was recognized for a closer source of supply for these stores, and perhaps to service other independent jobbers as well. This need was fulfilled by the establishment of Tri-States Automotive Warehouse in July, 1970.
Tri-States quickly outgrew the original 6,700 sq. ft. building and a new 40,000 sq. ft. warehouse was built at our present location in 1974. Today we operate out of a 100,000 sq. ft. distribution center in Marianna, Florida, a 22,000 sq. ft. facility in Tallahassee, Florida, a 10,000 sq. ft. facility in Dothan, Alabama, and a 10,000 sq. ft. facility in Panama City, Florida.
In 1982 both Marianna Auto Parts & Supply Company, Inc. and Tri-States Automotive Warehouse, Inc. were sold to Ronald and Cathie Stevens and to Walter and Libby Spence. Cathie and Libby are the daughters of founders Mary & Fred Henson. Cathie's husband, Ronnie, became the President of Marianna Auto Parts and Libby's husband, Walter, became the President of Tri-States Automotive Warehouse. The company flourished under their combined leadership and vision.
In 2013, Walter died unexpectedly and again the company went through the shock of loss. The company continued to prosper under the leadership of Bill Stevens, who took over as President. Walter and Libby's daughter and son-in-law, Kelly and Sean Connolly, soon joined the company as Vice-President of Finance and Vice-President of Operations for Tri-States. At the same time, Ronnie and Cathie's daughter, Kim Defelix, joined the management team of Marianna Auto Parts & Supply.
Our automotive distribution centers service the entire panhandle of Florida, South Alabama, and South Georgia. We deliver nightly to 16 company owned Auto Value stores, 60 independent Auto Value associates, and 43 other independent auto parts stores. We run 7 delivery trucks, 4 salesmen, and drive over one million miles per year.
We are fully computerized and designed to handle large orders as well as single item special orders. We maintain 6 million dollars of inventory over a broad range of automotive products consisting of over 90,000 different part numbers. Between the two family owned companies we employ 122 people with a payroll of 3.2 million dollars annually.