LAS VEGAS—Anyone who thought Morgan Tire & Auto Inc.'s growth the past few years was dizzying had better have the motion sickness pills ready.
Bolstered now by the decision to unite all of the company's stores under the Tires Plus name, Morgan Tire said it plans to add about 100 Tires Plus stores a year for the next five years, pushing the group past a thousand stores and toward $1.5 billion in sales by 2005.
Morgan Tire's acquisition of Team Tires Plus Ltd. earlier this year boosted Morgan's network of stores immediately to more than 540, but perhaps more importantly, brought franchising into Morgan's business plan, President Larry Morgan said.
"Franchising is something we had wanted to get into for some time," Mr. Morgan said at the firm's dealer meeting in Las Vegas Oct. 30. "Merging forces with Tom (Gegax) gave us the opportunity to add this type of distribution immediately. It will allow us to grow faster."
Morgan Tire is looking at recruiting as many as 50 Tires Plus franchisees a year in the coming five years, Mr. Morgan said, complementing the 50 company-owned stores due to open annually during that same time frame. The company has stores now in 25 states and plans to grow by one state a year as it adds stores.
Morgan Tire will market the franchise program through its existing stores—offering employees a $5,000 bonus for referring someone who becomes a franchisee—and will even consider franchising existing stores to store managers on a case-by-case basis, Mr. Morgan said.
In any event, the company's growth into new geographic areas will feature a mix of company-owned and franchised locations, he said.
Overall, Morgan Tire expects to double the size of its business during this time frame, serving more than 13.5 million customers and selling 10 million tires by 2005, he told several hundred store managers and franchisees attending the company's meeting.
Officially, the company's sales target for 2005 is $1.1 billion, but Mr. Morgan said on an ongoing, pro forma basis, he expects sales to be as much as a third higher due to the effects on wholesale business from the growing franchise network and other factors.
During a three-hour meeting that at times took on the air of a pep rally—complete with a marching band—Mr. Morgan stated right up front that one of his goals for 2001 is to create a business atmosphere that will allow each store manager to earn a minimum of $100,000 a year.
Heading up new programs for the coming year will be a proprietary passenger and light-truck tire line, Mr. Morgan said, likely carrying the Tires Plus name and to be made by Bridgestone/Firestone Inc., the dealership's principal supplier.
The meeting's theme was: "right time, right team, right now."