Ronnie Johns and then -partner Roger Jones started Full Line Exhaust on a shoestring in May 1988. After having worked in the industry for many years, Johns decided to go out on his own. He found a good location for a new warehouse in Dothan, gave notice and moved from Jackson, Mississippi. With no place to live and little information about the area, Johns moved into his new company's 5,000 square-foot warehouse for the first three months. His work really did become his life.
Starting from scratch, Full Line Exhaust bought three trailer loads of inventory, filled up a couple of delivery trucks and started going door-to-door. His first route salesman, Michael Smitherman, is still with him today. The only other employee in the beginning was an office assistant. But within one year, Full Line outgrew its warehouse and moved to an 8,000 square-foot building. Johns' future wife, Teri, also moved to Dothan and joined the company as office support. Within another year, Johns bought out his partner and moved Full Line Exhaust again, to its current 27,000 square -foot location.
Since then, Johns has opened new locations to broaden Full Line Exhaust's reach. A second warehouse was added in Atlanta in 1991. Full Line then bought existing companies in Birmingham, Alabama in 1994, Tampa, Florida in 1997, and added warehouses in Tifton, Georgia in 2000, Fulton, Kentucky in 2001, and acquired Duncan Muffler in 2002 and merged that warehouse with Full Line Exhaust's existing location in Atlanta, Georgia. A&G Warehouse of Cocoa Florida was acquired in January of 2007 and that operation was merged into three existing locations in January 2009. Hileri Distributors of Holly Hill Florida was acquired and functions out of the same Holly Hill Florida location as Top Line Exhaust dba Hileri Distributors. In January of 2013, Performance Muffler Company of McMinnville, TN, was acquired. That location was closed and relocated to Nashville, Tennessee.
While Full Line's product is nothing unique, it carries a wide variety of brands. And Johns contends that customer service is what sets Full Line Exhaust apart. "We're very customer service-oriented. We'll send something out at the last minute and fill needs quickly. We have a reliable delivery schedule and dependable vehicles."
Another key to Full Line's success is the availability of parts. Full Line Exhaust stocks as much inventory as possible. In fact, Johns said, "If I can stock everything in a company's catalog, I try to stock it. People seldom call us for a part that we don't have." In addition, Full Line has added more performance parts as customer demand has increased. "Baby boomers are fixing up their cars like they did when they were teens," kidded Johns.