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Auto-Lab to expand into Texas

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HOUSTON (Sept. 17, 2013) — Auto-Lab L.L.C. is expanding its auto service franchise model into the Texas market by signing Communitas Auto Group L.L.C. in Houston as the exclusive master franchisee for Auto-Lab Complete Car Care Centers for the state.

The recently formed Communitas Auto Group (CAG) will operate as Auto-Lab of Texas and be responsible for all locations that open in the state. The franchise group said it plans to open several company-owned locations as well as support independent franchisees.

Immediate plans call for opening two Auto-Lab locations within the first year, likely both within the Houston area, the company said, and then expand to other major metro markets in Texas.

"The Texas market has strong and growing demand for high-level, diagnostic auto repair services," said Frank Brandenberg, CEO of Farmington Hills, Mich.-based Auto-Lab, which has more than 30 franchised locations in operation in Indiana, Iowa, Florida and Michigan.

CAG is primarily led by Mike Humphrey, who also is a managing partner in Tanglewood Investments Inc., a private equity firm that said it has  sold substantially all of its operating companies built through 21 separate acquisitions over the past 17 years.

"There are two things that I look for in new business opportunities. The first is a good concept. But more importantly, I look for strong leaders," Mr. Humphrey said. "With Auto-Lab and Frank Brandenburg, I have found both.

"With the advancing technology of cars and trucks, Auto-Lab's specific focus on diagnostics is a point of clear distinction in the auto repair industry. We are excited to bring this concept to Texas."

CAG said it also will be supported by Ben Litalien, the founder and principal of a specialized consulting practice, Franchise Well L.L.C., who has spent more than 20 years developing several franchised businesses, the company said.

CAG is affiliated with PEP, a Houston-based nonprofit organization that assists formerly incarcerated men through entrepreneurship, education and mentoring.

"While the prospect of employing qualified PEP graduates is intriguing, no changes to the Auto-Lab concept are contemplated," according to CAG.

"The goal for Communitas Auto Group is to be the best franchisee in the Auto-Lab system and through that commitment we fully expect to field the strongest team possible at each location, including some of our PEP graduates," Mr. Humphrey said.




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