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About us

Simmons’ GoBattery is a family tradition for the Simmons’ family. In the late 1950s, Jonathan’s grandfather founded Southeastern Batteries in Georgia. Jonathan’s father, Bennett Simmons opened a Montgomery location in 1976. Working with his father for over 20 years, Jonathan now heads the company with the same company values, expertise, and exceptional customer service of his family before him.

The Simmons’ GoBattery team consists of dedicated employees who provide top-notch service, complete repairs, replace batteries, and deliver goods to our customers.

 

Simmons’ GoBattery sells batteries for everything you need.

Unlike traditional battery companies, we offer wholesale to the public in addition to retail. Our sister company Southeastern Carts sales, repairs, customizes, and rents go-carts. We value our local community and customers. We aim to serve with our expertise and service as a long-standing family business in the greater Montgomery area and our newest location in Orange Beach, Alabama.

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Three generations, from left: Will, Bennett and Jonathan Simmons

A Family Tradition for Over 60 Years

Southeastern Battery Distribution can trace its roots in the business back more than six decades. It all started when Vernon Prior, fresh from a stint serving the U.S. Marine Corps, found employment at Chloride Battery in North Carolina, sweeping floors and stocking the warehouse. He quickly advanced to overseeing route truck inventory and doing checkins. Soon enough his employers recognized that Prior had potential in sales with his gift of gab and playful sense of humor, and started training him as an outside route salesman. Before long he was surpassing and mentoring his fellow agents, and by the early 1960s he was ready to start his own company, Southeastern Battery Distributors, locating himself centrally in Columbus, Ga., just east of the Alabama line. Prior married Cheryl Belle and together they grew a family and a family business. Southeastern Battery started the business as a wholesale distributorship. Prior worked alone from a box truck, making deliveries to customers on his route, while his wife Cheryl handled the bookkeeping and the kids at home. Over time his routes expanded until the company’s territory stretched west from Columbus through Montgomery, Alabama and across to Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

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.

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Over the next few decades, Bennett cultivated those relationships in central Alabama, building the company’s reputation among a loyal customer base with hard work, long hours and a commitment to hands-on, boots-on-the-ground customer service. By the late ’90s, the Montgomery side eventually split from its parent company in Columbus to become a separate entity called Simmons Southeastern Battery. Bennett kept the business he had cultivated in Alabama, while Prior continued to operate the original Southeastern Batteries in Columbus until his retirement.

 

Vernon Prior passed away in 2008. Bennett and Lynn’s first son, Jonathan Simmons, came along in 1978. He grew up on a battery truck route, learning the business from the two preceding generations. He started working there at age 10—after school, on weekends, and in the summers. After graduating high school in 1996, Jonathan studied business at Central Alabama Community College and then Troy University, returning to Simmons Southeastern Battery when he was 19 and going full- time in 2000. Jonathan became his father’s partner and part owner of the business in 2010. When Bennett retired in 2018, Jonathan and his wife Alicia bought the company from him. Under their leadership, the company has expanded to serve markets in Alabama’s coastal region with branches in Orange Beach and Mobile.

 

Jonathan and Alicia’s oldest child, Will Simmons, represents the fourth generation in the family business. Will started working there part-time after graduating high school in 2016, then earned a business administration degree from the University of South Alabama in 2021. Will has managed the Orange Beach location and will now be the manager of the new Mobile branch, starting in 2023.

Change & Growth

Along with Southeastern branded batteries, the company also distributes other brands such as East Penn, Crown, Trojan, Odyssey, EnerSys, Eternity and others. The company covers all aspects of the battery industry, from power sports, automotive, marine and motive power, serving a wide range of customers including marinas, auto parts stores and repair shops, hardware stores, gas stations, tire stores, used car dealer- ships, utility and power sports vehicle dealers—basically anywhere and everywhere except big box retailers.

But there’s more. It’s long been recognized as sound advice not to put all of one’s eggs in a single basket, and with that adage in mind, many businesses have benefited from diversification. In the early 2000s, Jonathan recognized a potential opportunity for the battery company in the golf cart sector as that product began exploding in popularity.

 

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Original Southeastern Batteries President Donnie Ellis, left, with owner Vernon Prior, right, circa mid-1970s

“I had a hard time telling customers no, and that’s where golf carts and other genre of the battery industry sparked,” Jonathan says. “Customers insisted I fix their carts after installing batteries, and it just became a thing.” He started taking in golf cart repair jobs as a side venture, and word spread. A private company from central Georgia that refurbished golf carts into hunting carts approached Jonathan about selling their units. After that, he says, they were off to the races.

Jonathan’s instincts and vision for the growth potential of this side business proved to be spot-on: golf cart sales and service has be- come an important secondary business for the family company. In fact, Alicia Simmons indicates that during the pandemic, Simmons Battery might not have survived had it not been for golf carts. Today the battery business doubles as a dealer for golf cart brands Club Car, Advanced EV, Bintelli, and Landmaster, offering full sales and service by certified mechanics.

The Montgomery-based operation that Bennett started was known as Simmons Southeastern Battery from its split with Columbus until 2010, when Bennett changed the name to simply Simmons Battery. In 2022, Jonathan and Alicia restructured the parent company as Southeastern Battery Distribution LLC, with a retail-focused subsidiary in Southeastern Carts LLC doing business as Go Battery.

Today, Jonathan Simmons is President of Southeastern Battery Distribution; Will Simmons is President of Southeastern Carts and manager of the new Mobile store; Christopher Little man- ages the Orange Beach store, Andy Coker manages the Montgomery retail store and Judd Fochtmann is the central Alabama representative for South- eastern Battery.

 

Jonathan and Alicia hit the ground running upon taking over from Bennett. Jonathan spent 2018 cultivating business on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, as his father and grandfather had done decades earlier, working out of his truck to deliver pallet loads from Montgomery in advance of opening a new location there a year later. That branch, at 25187 Canal Road, Orange Beach, opened in 2019.

 

Also in 2019, Southeastern Carts/Go Battery opened a second Montgomery location with a retail store at 700 Eastern Boulevard. In late 2022, the wholesale distribution warehouse on Oliver Road in Montgomery moved to a new location in Gunter Park.

 

In 2023, Southeastern Battery expands again with a new hybrid location in Mobile, designed to serve as both a wholesale battery distribution warehouse and a retail golf cart dealership. The grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony at 128 East I-65 Service Road North, Mobile, is scheduled to take place on August 23, 2023.

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For over 60 years Simmons’ GoBattery has been commited to providing you the power to move forward! From batteries & accessories to golf cart sales, rentals and service, we offer a one stop solution for all of your needs.
© 2023 Simmons GoBattery & Southeastern Carts. Website design by Next Level Studio.