Young woman with middle-aged man in warehouse
Paige Horn, former CEO Dixie and Bob Knoll, CEO, Millennium Distribution

Reesenting the third generation of her family’s jan/san distribution business, Paige Horn was just 32 when she assumed the role of CEO. But energizing a maturing sales team as a millennial was only one of the challenges she faced in leading the business into a new era. 

Like most distributors, Tyler, Texas-based Dixie Paper faced increasing competition from larger e-commerce distribution platforms and needed to make a change. A change that would provide customers with the time savings and convenience of a “click-click-order” supported by the local sales representative they had come to know and trust during Dixie Paper’s 40-year history. 

“By the nature of where we operate, throughout much of East Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, we’re in a lot of rural communities so relationships are incredibly important,” says Horn. “Our salespeople go to church with their customers and their kids go to school together. So in our world, it’s not just about business — it’s about community, too.” 

Dixie Paper’s goal was to become one of the most technologically advanced 
distributors in the industry in order to better serve the changing needs of their customers. Yet, offering the solution wasn’t enough — Dixie Paper needed to train its sales team so it understood the solution, while also helping customers understand the technology and integrate it into its business processes.

Striking a balance between being progressive with online capabilities, but still personal with individual service for each customer has been a challenge. 

“Depending on the work environment, accessibility to technology, tech savviness or just preference, there are still cases where customers want and need the personalized service of a dedicated sales representative, and we’re happy to provide that,” says Horn. “But customers are beginning to prefer the time savings and ease of online ordering over time spent with a sales representative. We want our customers to know that we’re the best in this space and we’re there and waiting for them when they’re ready to make that choice.”

This new business outlook not only caught the attention of customers, but of other distributors, as well. 

next page of this article:
A Business Acquisition Built On Shared Values