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story.lead_photo.caption Tom and Dan's Auto Supply was recognized for high sales in Interstate Battery System's Red River Region. Daniel Deprato, right, stands with his son-in-law, Nathan Stokes, who owns the business. Photo by Junius Stone / Texarkana Gazette.

TEXARKANA, Ark. — When you've done things a certain way for so long, you may be unaware of just how good you are at doing it.

Consider the case of Tom and Dan's Auto Supply on the edge of downtown. It was recently recognized by Interstate Battery System as one of its top territory sellers.

"Originally, this business was Tom and Stan's Automotive Supply," said Daniel Deprato. "Tom Deprato is my father, who is now deceased. His partner, Stan Jones, sold me his share and then he retired. Now it is Tom and Dan's, though I'm the only partner in the business now."

The business was started in 1972 and for a number of years was in the auto parts business. In 2002, they closed out the auto parts business and solely focused on battery and chemicals sales.

"We got a contract with the federal government to do battery and hazmat sales," Deprato said. "For a couple of years, our business was solely with the government. But now, we can sell the batteries to the public. The government has the exclusive contract for chemical sales."

Deprato manages the sales business. The physical location is now owned by Nathan Stokes, his son-in-law, who runs a full auto repair shop on the premises.

They were surprised to learn they were regional sales champs.

"Interstate Battery System is organized into various sales regions," Deprato said. "They manage and monitor the sales in these regions. Recently, their Western Arkansas sales region merged with their Northern Louisiana sales region. They then took a look at the sales numbers of the various outlets that carry Interstate batteries and noticed our sales. No other outlet is even close to our level of output in the region."

John Martin, Interstate Battery inventory sales manager for the Red River and Wachitas regions, confirmed this achievement for the Red River Region.

"They greatly exceed the sales figures of other outlets in the territory," he said. "I think his connections with people, car lots and his government contracts are key to making it all happen."

Deprato says he's developed certain techniques over the years and is able to create added value for his customers.

"It all comes down to professional salesmanship and taking care of your customers," he said. "They not only stay happy and keep coming back to you, but they tell others about you. Word of mouth is king in this business."

(Tom and Dan's Auto Supply is at 302 Ash St. Visit them on Facebook or call them at 903-276-1868.)

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