How a Ringgold man went from living on food stamps to being a CEO

In 2007, Chris Watts Sr. was a single parent living on food stamps and months behind on his mortgage.

Today, the 53-year-old from Ringgold in northwest Georgia employs eight workers at his auto parts business and forecasts $650,000 in annual sales. Watts, a high school graduate, developed a do-it-yourself kit to clean cloudy head lamps after his auto painting business, built with money borrowed from retirement, went bust six years ago.

Called Headlight Renew Doctor, the kits are sold in 17 countries and many states. Here's how he says he did it, stumbles and all on our premium website,

Watts’ tips

1. To convince a business manager to buy your product, show them a check you've recently gotten from a similar business.

2. Don't go into a big business presentation without someone who knows the lingo and expectations.

3. Regularly ask customers what they need.


Each Sunday, the AJC brings subscribers insights from metro Atlanta’s leaders and entrepreneurs. Business editor Matt Kempner’s “Secrets of Success” shares the vision and realities of entrepreneurs who started their dreams from scratch. The column alternates with business editor Henry Unger’s “5 Questions for the Boss,” which reveals the lessons learned by CEOs of the area’s major companies and organizations.