LINCOLN, Neb.—T.O. Haas Tire Co. added five retail stores—four by acquisition—during the past year in Nebraska and Kansas, expanding the company's retail chain to 26 outlets. The acquisitions included the dealership's first Big O Tire franchise, an outlet in Lincoln that had not been doing well, T.O. Haas President Randy Haas said.
``We saw an opportunity and are trying it,'' he said. The dealership will market the Big O outlet in concert with the company's chain of T.O. Haas Tire retail stores in the city.
If the effort proves successful over the next year, ``we may open some more (Big O franchises),'' Mr. Haas said.
Besides the Big O franchise, T.O. Haas constructed a new outlet in Lincoln during the past year and acquired three single-location dealerships in Nebraska and Kansas.
T.O. Haas plans to add five to 10 more locations over the next year, including one store under construction in Lincoln, which should open in 45 days, and another on the drawing board, set for a spring debut.
Other growth will come from purchases of existing dealerships, Mr. Haas said. ``We're looking at opportunities out there that could fit us.''
T.O. Haas Tire, named after the company's founder and chairman T.O. Haas, projects sales of $100 million in 1999.
The company, which T.O. Haas started from an inventory of one Star tire, now boasts 23 retail-only tire stores and three commercial/ retail outlets. The firm also operates a large wholesale business, which accounts for 75-percent of company revenue, and has a small commercial/retread unit.
T.O. Haas sells a variety of tire lines including Bridgestone, Firestone, Michelin, BFGoodrich, Uniroyal, Hankook, Kumho, Yokohama, Cordovan and Multi-Mile.
The retail stores also perform most undercar services, including exhausts, brakes, alignments, shocks and struts, air conditioning and oil and lube.