MANASSAS, Va.-Merchant's Inc. has expanded its market coverage into South Carolina with the Aug. 8 purchase of Triad Tire & Automotive of Kernersville, N.C. James Matthews, president of Manassas-based Merchant's, said the acquisition of Triad's 17 retail stores and three warehouses ``fits our strategic plan for growth.''
The purchase brings the number of Merchant's outlets to 126 retail stores, 12 distribution centers and six commercial locations in a five-state region extending from Pennsylvania to South Carolina.
The acquisition is expected to help boost Merchant's total corporate sales from $206 million in 1993 to $215 million this year.
Merchant's said it approached Triad Tire owner Tim Terrell about the acquisition, finalizing the agreement Aug. 8 for an undisclosed price. Mr. Terrell, 42, is leaving the company to pursue other interests, but could not be reached for comment.
The 23-year-old dealership was in good financial shape, according to Mr. Matthews, who declined to disclose Triad Tire's sales or earnings figures.
The acquired stores in the ``triad'' market of Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point, N.C., as well as three in South Carolina, will continue to operate under the Triad Tire name until a conversion to Merchant's signage is completed next spring.
Former Triad President Bob Loer has remained with the company to oversee the Triad store operations.
Triad Tire currently offers various automotive services and sells mainly Toyo, Kelly and Bridgestone brand tires.
There are no plans to close any of the Triad outlets, Mr. Matthews added. Rather, Merchant's will expand their auto service offerings, including adding underhood services, and will introduce additional tire lines to match the product line-up at Merchant's other retail stores.
That line-up includes Kelly, Bridgestone, Firestone, BFGoodrich, Uniroyal, Michelin, Pirelli, Brigadier, American and Centennial brand tires. Tire sales account for about half of Merchant's total retail sales.