ATHENS, Ga.—With a major expansion already under way in Georgia, Morgan Tire & Auto Inc. has purchased the eight-store American Discount Tire chain from its owner and founder, Jimmy Britt. Details of the transaction were not disclosed.
Clearwater, Fla.-based Morgan Tire, which operates in its home state as Olson Tire Total Car Care, expects eventually to have at least 40 outlets in Georgia's major population centers.
The Oct. 1 acquisition of Athens-based American Discount Tire gives Morgan Tire a total of 330 outlets in 12 states, including 321 primarily retail stores and nine combination retail/commercial operations.
Already one of North America's largest independent retail tire dealerships, expansion-minded Morgan Tire said it plans to open at least 50 new stores annually en route to its objective of having 1,000 locations across the country.
Chairman and CEO Larry C. Morgan said American Discount Tire's five Athens, Ga., stores and three northeast Atlanta locations gradually will be converted to Olson Tire outlets.
Reflecting its earlier acquisitions, Morgan Tire is currently doing business in various areas under a variety of names such as Wheel Works, Michel Tire, Avellino's and Hibdon Tire Centers.
Mr. Morgan said few changes are contemplated in store personnel or tire brands for the American Discount Tire chain, founded by Mr. Britt in 1987. It offers many of the same Firestone, Bridgestone and Dayton brand tires and undercar services featured by Olson Tire.
``Jimmy Britt is going to help out on a part-time basis in real estate (acquisition) and other capacities,'' Mr. Morgan said. ``Other than that, the whole (American Discount Tire) team will remain.''
Those stores, he said, give Morgan Tire a ``stepping stone'' to the Atlanta market—new territory for the company. Counting the American Discount Tire outlets, Morgan Tire now has 16 stores operating in Georgia with two dozen more either under construction or on the drawing board. Morgan Tire also has outlets in Athens, Savannah, Augusta and Brunswick, Ga.
Along with the greater Atlanta market, the company also has expansion plans for Georgia's Macon and Warner Roberts areas, Mr. Morgan said.