POTOSI, Mo.—Purcell Tire & Rubber Co. has acquired two tire dealerships in separate transactions, adding eight retail and commercial locations to its fold and expanding its retread capacity by about a third.
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-road and construction tire retreading, in a transaction that closed Aug. 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. The firm's former president, Harold Ripley, and 25 employees 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 eastern-most 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 run the locations he formerly owned.
"I thought about it long and hard," Heartland's Mr. Ripley said. "But it was time to do something." He first talked with Purcell about selling several years ago, but could not agree on terms.
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.
Mr. Ripley, who has worked at the same location for 38 years as an employee and part owner, will continue to operate the site for Purcell.
Purcell is ranked as the seventh-largest commercial dealership in North America and was third among OTR retreaders.
The acquisitions will push Purcell's sales to more than $160 million at 54 locations in 11 states, and could make Purcell the nation's largest independent OTR tire retreader.