ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.-Two years after announcing plans to greatly expand a unique retreads-only retail store operation, Norva Corp. and its subsidiary, Acutred Tires, closed in November due to production problems at the company's only retread manufacturing plant in Albuquerque. Norva Corp. was the seventh-largest retreader of passenger and light truck tires in North America in 1992, according to a TIRE BUSINESS ranking.
Norman Affleck, the companies' former owner and founder, relinquished control of the operations in February 1993 to Wheeler Park Capital Corp., a private venture capital firm. Nine months later, the companies went belly-up because ``everything that could go wrong'' at the manufacturing plant did, according to then-President Al Robinson.
The plant, Mr. Robinson said, experienced quality control, training and casing shipment problems that kept it operating at only 25 percent of total capacity. At that level, the plant produced about 40,000 retreads in 1993, he said.
``The product was salable. You could sell everything that was made,'' Mr. Robinson said, noting Acutred posted sales figures of about $1.2 million in 1993. ``We just couldn't make enough for the cash flow we needed.''
Mr. Affleck, who said he had invested about $2 million over the years into the operations, said he was upset by the demise of the company and blamed the operations' shut-down on ``mismanagement.''
Wheeler Park Capital gained controlling interest in the companies from Mr. Affleck in 1993 in exchange for capital investments he said he had hoped would pave the way for expansion.
In 1992, Mr. Affleck told TIRE BUSINESS he intended to open six Acutred outlets in the Albuquerque area by June of that year.
Additionally, he said he had plans to add 20 stores in Denver, 14 in Salt Lake City and another eight in western Texas by the end of 1993. By the end of the decade, he had hoped to have 1,000 outlets scattered throughout Oklahoma, Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas.
Both men said they are convinced that the concept of retread-only retail stores is a viable one and, working independently, both are attempting to find financing that will enable them to reopen the business. The companies' assets have not been sold.
But Mr. Robinson said the prospects of finding investors in a company that never posted a profit are ``iffy.''