TOLEDO, Ohio—Wholesaler World Tire Corp. is buying full control of the Andersons Tireman Auto Centers' nine retail outlets and one commercial tire center, all in northwest Ohio, ending a 19-year-old partnership with the agribusiness company Andersons Inc. Toledo-based World Tire is a 75-year-old wholesale distributor to approximately 250 independent tire dealers in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and West Virginia. The company already is considering expanding its new subsidiary, said Randy Jones, the current Tireman general manager named to become president of Tireman Auto Service Centers L.L.C.
Terms were not disclosed for the transaction, which is expected to be completed in mid-February.
Tireman has annual sales of about $13 million.
Andersons and World Tire formed the joint venture in 1981.
"The Andersons has had a solid and very satisfying business relationship with Tireman," Mike Anderson, CEO and president of Andersons, said in a press release.
"However, as we sharpen our focus on the Andersons' core businesses," Mr. Anderson's statement continued, "we feel the time is right to sell our interest in Tireman to our partner."
Andersons, founded in 1947, has about 1,200 employees and annual sales of $1 billion.
The Maumee, Ohio-based firm operates grain elevators, merchandises grain and manufactures agricultural fertilizer, chemicals and other supplies.
It has six retail stores in Ohio that sell hardware, electronics, sporting goods, work clothing and feature a deli-bakery and produce sections.
"The key thing is to have Randy (Jones) to run it (Tireman)," said Bill Cox, World Tire president.
Mr. Jones is a 20-year veteran of the tire business who had been employed by Andersons. He will have an undisclosed stake in the dealership and continue to oversee the Tireman stores.
"They (Andersons) have never been totally serious about the auto service center business," Mr. Jones said. "This is a really exciting deal, now that we have some focused ownership."
Both Mr. Cox and Mr. Jones said there will be no major changes at Tireman for now. "The operation is doing real well now and, naturally, we hope to improve it," Mr. Cox said.
Another Andersons employee, Jim Jones (no relation), will join Tireman to focus on training programs, Randy Jones said, adding that he and Mr. Cox have discussed expanding Tireman within World Tire's wholesale territory.
"We'd like to grow the stores because we think we can leverage the overhead a little bit more," Mr. Jones said. "There is probably room for one or two more stores in the Toledo market, and then possibly Cleveland and possibly Dayton."
"Now that I have full control of the operation," Mr. Cox said, "we'll probably (expand) more than we have in the past."