POTOSI, Mo. (Aug. 8, 2000) — Purcell Tire and Rubber Co. has acquired two tire dealerships in separate transactions.
The Potosi-based company purchased Tom´s Tire & Service Center — a retail and commercial dealership based in Albers, Ill., with six locations in Illinois and two in Missouri — in a deal that closed July 14.
Purcell also acquired Heartland Retreaders Inc. in Kansas City, Kan., which specializes in off-the-road and construction tire retreading, in a transaction that closed August 1.
Terms of the acquisitions were not disclosed and both dealerships will operate under the Purcell name.
"We acquired Tom´s Tire to strengthen our position in the Missouri-Illinois market," said Joe Jackson, senior vice president at Purcell. The company now will have eight locations in Illinois, concentrated in the central portion of the state.
Tom Johnson, founder and owner of Tom´s Tire, will stay with Purcell as a regional manager, as will the dealership´s 75 employees.
Tom´s Tire features Goodyear, Kelly and Toyo tires, and had annual sales of about $8 million, with about 60 percent coming from auto and truck service.
Heartland´s annual sales are about $3 million, and the firm´s former president, Harold Ripley, and 25 employees also will stay with Purcell.
The acquisition of Heartland "will enhance our product offerings and help consolidate our business," Mr. Jackson said. "We´ll acquire additional (retread) molds and be able to offer customers a wider selection of products."
Mr. Johnson, who founded Tom´s Tire in Albers 17 years ago, said his stores were spread too far apart for him to manage effectively. "Things are more competitive," he added, "and this has definitely been a down year for commercial business because of fuel costs."
``Personnel was also an ongoing problem," Mr. Johnson said. The retail-commercial outlet in Lebanon, Mo., which was a five-hour drive from his easternmost location in Mount Vernon, Ill., had 28 employees, and he had difficulty keeping it staffed.
"I went through thick and thin, and I´ve seen all facets of it (the tire business)," he said.
As regional manager, Mr. Johnson will continue to manage the locations he formerly owned.
"Purcell is a very good company, and certainly they are in an expansion mode," he added. "They were straight-up competitor.... I respected that about them."
"I thought about it long and hard," Heartland´s Mr. Ripley said. "But it was time to do something." He said he first talked with Purcell about selling several years ago, but they couldn´t agree on terms.
"We´re a small outfit," he added, "and it´s tough to compete with prices so low."
Heartland is Purcell´s first location in Kansas. The retreader occupies a four-building, 64,000-sq.-ft.complex, where it produces 30 to 40 OTR retreads per day, consuming about 2 million pounds of rubber annually.
Mr. Ripley, who has worked at the same location for 38 years as an employee and part owner, will continue to operate the facility for Purcell.
"They´re (Purcell) a good outfit," he said.
Purcell held the No. 7 spot on the most recent Tire Business rankings of commercial dealerships in North America and was third among OTR retreaders. These two additional businesses will push Purcell´s sales over $160 million at 54 locations in 11 states.