The Solid Start Legacy
The Solid Start legacy of automotive excellence dates back to 1976 and continues today with a family of products designed to effectively enhance performance and extend engine life. Our story started in the Willis family garage many years ago, when Larrell and Dale Willis began manufacturing paint sealant and PTFE products which they sold in the phosphate, citrus, and auto service industry. From these humble beginnings, they grew to more than 100 employees and more than 50 distributors around the world. It is with that premise we carry on our family legacy; building on a solid foundation of trust, confidence and value that is unmatched in the industry.
Solid Start is a second-generation manufacturer of performance additives and treatments for all types of engines, fuel systems, gear/transmissions, and hydraulic systems. Since 1976, our products have been used in the automotive, phosphate, citrus, railroad, steel, coal, and entertainment industries. Over the years, we have been fortunate enough to partner with and be the supplier of choice for companies such as Disney, Busch Gardens, Firestone, Goodyear, Jiffy Lube, Tires Plus, Tire Kingdom, Southeast Toyota U.S.A., Toyota of Japan, and Mazda of Japan.
Our family has always modeled our business around the win/win philosophy: everything has to be good for all involved. We believe in building strong business programs, investing in people, and manufacturing quality products on a solid foundation of trust, confidence, value and stability. True Brand represents automotive integrity today, for tomorrow’s automotive service requirements.
A Brief History of Willis Family Manufacturing:
Larrell and Dale Willis begin manufacturing in their mother’s garage under the name Willis Brothers.
Willis Brothers incorporates under the name QMI and begins selling to the automotive aftermarket.
QMI products are sold in over 17,000 automotive aftermarket service centers in the United States alone.
QMI is purchased by ITW, a Fortune 200 company.
The Willis family legacy is revived when Amber Kossak and Crystal Mathews open Solid Start, Inc.
Solid Start named the Automotive Oil Change Association Vendor of the Year.
Solid Start again named the Automotive Oil Change Association Vendor of the Year.
Solid Start named Grease Monkey International Vendor of the Year.
Solid Start, Inc is owned and operated by the next generation of the Willis family, Amber Kossak and Crystal Mathews. We could not be more thankful for the solid foundation upon which our company is built.
We look forward to writing the next chapter of our journey with you!
Meet Our Executive Team
“Thank You! We appreciate the support and understand the value our customers bring to the table. Without you, Solid Start would not exist. Therefore, everything we implement must adhere to our customer first philosophy: If you are not serving your customer, you better be serving someone who is. For as long as I can remember, my father has always said, ‘If better is possible, Good Is Not Enough.’ At Solid Start, we don’t just understand this saying, we live by it.”
Amber has over 20 years of experience in the Automotive Service Industry. In addition to the Automotive Additive Manufacturing Facility, her family also owned a Quick Lube. It was while working at the Quick Lube that she found her passion both behind the sales counter and under the hood. She also gained key insight into the needs of the Automotive Service Industry through her work performing oil changes, transmission services, and additive sales.
Amber also worked for her family in the Automotive Additive Manufacturing Facility. The opportunity to work at both family businesses made it possible for Amber to gain expertise in many areas such as sales, service, shipping, receiving, production, marketing, and management. This privilege allowed her not only to work with GREAT people, but also provided a Solid Foundation of knowledge, experience, and appreciation. It’s upon that foundation which Solid Start is built and through which supports the customer relationships/friendships she appreciates so much today.
“I cannot imagine where I would be today if it had not been for the love and kindness that has been shown to me over the years. Solid Start is a family business and our team is very passionate about the work we do and the people we get to meet. I will always continue to strive to do the best I can in life, family, and business.”
Crystal’s career in the Automotive Industry began with the Willis family in 2000 when she started working in the production warehouse doing everything from packaging to driving forklifts to quality control. She says that while it may not have been her ideal job, the knowledge and experience she gained was definitely worth every bead of sweat and broken nail. After mastering production, she decided it was time to tackle sales, which is where her natural ability to relate to others truly began to shine. Over the years she has continued to grow not only in product knowledge and customer service, but also in heart, appreciation and sincerity as well. In addition to her professional experience, Crystal has personally overcome many obstacles in life. She truly believes that these obstacles have only made her stronger and taught her to appreciate the truly important things. Combined with her professional growth, this has equipped her to be the business owner she is today.