ALBANY, N.Y.—Wholesale Tire Co. Inc. has acquired a seven-store retail dealership in upstate New York at a bankruptcy auction, a move that will extend WTC's retail operations beyond the Long Island/New York City area for the first time. Bayshore, N.Y.-based WTC acquired the assets of Lake George, N.Y.-based Tire Warehouse Inc. at an Aug. 11 auction, and will incorporate the seven stores into its existing 19-store network.
``We're excited about the prospects of profitability and expansion,'' said Tom Engel, WTC vice president of operations.
Attorney Lisa Tang, who represented TWI during the bankruptcy proceedings, said WTC assumed TWI's business operations, inventory and equipment for $263,000, but there is no guarantee WTC will retain TWI's seven leased locations in and around Albany, Schenectady and Troy, N.Y.
``WTC is at risk, and they have to negotiate with the other landlords,'' she said.
``We're in the process of securing all the leases for those seven stores,'' Mr. Engel said. ``Everything's been really favorable so far.''
WTC, a wholesale/retail/commercial dealership, recorded sales of about $70 million in 1998—about 70 percent of which were derived from its wholesale business.
Mr. Engel said WTC expects 1999 sales to jump to about $85 million with the inclusion of the seven newly acquired stores and two new truck tire centers that WTC opened this year. The acquired stores will be changed to WTC identification.
WTC is a regional distributor for American Car Care Centers, and Mr. Engel said WTC has been servicing about 40 Albany-area dealers, including the TWI locations, for several years. He said the addition of the TWI locations will help strengthen the ACCC name in the Albany area.
WTC has been involved with the TWI outlets for these last couple of years, including supplying tires to them on a consignment basis. ``We know the people in those stores,'' Mr. Engel said.
He said WTC plans to retain several of TWI's managers, including General Manager Bill Stevens.
``One of the keys is for us to grow the mechanical business,'' he said. WTC will add 10 to 15 technicians and salespeople to the current TWI staff of about 50 and will purchase additional equipment.
TWI once had 15 stores in eastern New York, but filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in April 1997. At that time, TWI listed assets of nearly $600,000, but liabilities of $3.1 million, including $580,000 in state and federal taxes and nearly $225,000 owed to Dunlop Tire Corp.