By LYNN LOFTON
If you’re going to go somewhere, it’s best to start with a good set of wheels, which is exactly what brothers Thomas and James Duff did en route to building their $2 billion empire.
Southern Tire Mart is truly a home grown company. It began in Columbia in 1973. The company has expanded to 72 locations from Florida to Nevada and annual sales of $820 million.
The founding Duff brothers led led this growth with a commitment to “best-in-class service.”
Southern Tire Mart is now is the largest commercial tire dealer and truck tire re-treader in North America. It ranks ninth on this year’s Mississippi 100, the Mississippi Business Journal’s ranking of the largest private companies in Mississippi, based on annual revenue.
That success ignited an entrepreneurial spirit that has resulted in the Duffs acquisition of eight other businesses with a total annual revenue exceeding $2 billion.
MORE FROM THE TOP 100
The parent company, Duff Capital Investors, has grow to 10 companies employing more than 9,000 people across the United States. In the Mississippi 100, four of the companies rank in the top 50, and two in the top 10.
Southern Tire attributes much of its success to customer service.
“We are as successful as we are because we empower our greatest asset and strength to be the very best they can be every day — our employees. By doing this we attract and retain the very best people in the industry,” the company writes on its website.
KLLM, ranked 10th in the Mississippi 100, has been transporting perishable commodities for satisfied customers throughout the country for 50 years. It offers over-the-road, regionald and dedicated temperature-controlled services throughout the United States and Mexico. KLLM has headquarters in Richland.
T.L. Wallace Construction is ranked 34th in the Mississippi 100, and has offices in Columbia and Gulfport.The firm is constructs buildings, bridges, highways and public works projects in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida.
DeepWell Energy Services, formerly Formerly T.K. Stanley, has roots in the oil field industry. The Waynesboro-based company is an oil field and energy services company that has 35 years of experience under its belt and the team that knows how to handle all your oil field needs.
The Duff brothers also own Forest Products Transports, Frozen Food Express, Southern Insurance Group, Pine Belt Ford, Pine Belt Chevrolet, Duff Hospitality.
Thomas Duff also was appointed to the Institute of Higher Learning Board by Gov. Phil Bryant in May 2015 to represent the Second (Southern) Supreme Court District for a term to expire May 7, 2024.
In 1980, Mr. Duff received his Bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Southern Mississippi. In 2012, in recognition of Jim and Tom Duff’s significant contributions, the University of Southern Mississippi named its athletic center “The Jim and Tom Duff Athletic Center.”