As a commercial account manager for Walton Gas, Ashlie Franklin has a front-row seat for watching Georgia grow. She counts herself lucky for playing a small role in a big show that gets better every year. “Every day is new and exciting because I get to work with Georgia’s entrepreneurs and innovative startups as well as family businesses and hometown companies,” Ashlie said. “It’s a privilege to work with small businesses, which are the lifeblood of our state’s — and nation’s — economy.”
May 1-7 is National Small Business Week.The Peach State is home to about 1.1 million small businesses, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. That accounts for 99.6 percent of all businesses in the state. Among them are many Walton Gas customers like car care company Midtown Tire, auto parts distributor Weaver Distributors and senior care facility operator The Landing. Walton Gas, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, is itself a Georgia-based small business. Having common ground helps Walton Gas relate well to small business customers, Ashlie said.
“We understand many of the challenges small businesses face.”“We understand many of the challenges that small businesses face,” she said. “When you have somewhat limited resources, you have to wear many hats. We know there are a lot of competing priorities, so we make dealing with Walton Gas super easy.” Doing business with a company that understands his needs is important to Robert Spence, president of Midtown Tire. He appreciates both the competitive rates and exceptional customer service he consistently receives from Walton Gas, which supplies natural gas to all seven locations of his metro Atlanta automotive car centers. “You can put a good price out there, but nothing is going to beat customer service; it’s everything,” he said. “I want to do business with companies that do what they say they are going to do, and when they say they are going to do it. And that’s Walton Gas.”
“I want to do business with companies that do what they say they are going to do…”Spence has worked with Ashlie for two years. He knows he can depend on her to contact him when it’s time for money-saving renewals, seasonal reconnects and seasonal disconnects. Every Walton Gas business customer, large and small, has a single point of contact for service. This is one of the primary reasons the management team at The Landing Senior Living chose Walton Gas, said Christin Smith, director of marketing for the company. “We have access to consolidated customer service, which is very helpful when working with an issue or concerns over more than one community,” she said. The Landing currently operates three senior living facilities in northern Georgia. They have dealt with the same Walton Gas representative since construction began on the first location in 2018. Kenny Weaver, chief financial officer for Athens-based Weaver Distributors, just renewed his Walton Gas contract. The auto parts wholesale distributor uses natural gas at its warehouses in Athens, Augusta and Alpharetta.
“It’s just easy to do business with them, plus they’re very competitive with other gas marketers rate-wise.”Weaver likes working with Walton Gas because the company and its employees are based in Georgia. “It’s just easy to do business with them, plus they’re very competitive with other gas marketers rate-wise,” he said. He’s also impressed with Ashlie’s commitment to tailoring plans to best fit the needs of his company. Her knowledge and experience are evident when explaining rate plan options, billing matters or the natural gas market in general. “Ashlie is very customer-oriented,” he said. “She listens to any questions or concerns I have, and then wastes no time addressing them.”