Vernon and Cheryl had four children, two girls and two boys. The oldest girl, Sherril Lynn Prior, met Bennett Simmons through church. Bennett was a student at what was then Columbus College (now Columbus State University) while he was working at industrial battery manufacturer GNB Technologies. When Lynn brought Bennett to meet her family, Vernon saw potential in the young man’s personality similar to what his mentors had seen in him years before. By age 20, Bennett became the Priors’ son-in-law, and went to work in sales for Southeastern Battery.
In 1976, Bennett and Lynn moved west to Montgomery, Alabama, to expand territory and establish a new warehouse hub. While the company headquarters remained in Columbus, Bennett developed his own wholesale route from Montgomery. He grew the business in that territory in much the same manner as Vernon had done in Columbus: working alone out of a truck, delivering batteries to his customers at marinas, auto repair shops and hardware stores.