RIVIERA BEACH, Fla.—Tire Kingdom Inc. has expanded its reach into Georgia and Louisiana with the purchases of Wildcat Tire of Folkson and Kingsland, Ga., and Lucas Tire Inc. of New Orleans.
Together with the purchase of B&C Tire & Battery in Fernadina and Yulee, Fla., Tire Kingdom added 14 stores recently to its network, which now totals 163 outlets. Terms of the acquisitions were not released.
Tire Kingdom already has started renovating the Wildcat Tire and B&C Tire locations into Tire Kingdom sites, but the company is still evaluating when to change over Lucas Tire's 10 New Orleans area stores, according to Orland Wolford, president and CEO of Tire Kingdom.
The acquired stores average about $1 million in annual sales, Mr. Wolford said, but the Wildcat Tire and B&C Tire locations are more heavily skewed to automotive service than the average Tire Kingdom outlet, meaning there is considerable growth potential at those sites for tires. In addition, none of the acquired stores featured a manufacturer's flag brand tire.
The Wildcat Tire and B&C Tire locations are in the greater Jacksonville, Fla., metropolitan area, so Tire Kingdom will be able to capitalize on advertising spending there, Mr. Wolford said.
With 10 stores and $10 million in annual sales, Lucas Tire is considered the largest tire retailer in the greater New Orleans metro area, Tire Kingdom said. Up until this past year, Lucas Tire partnered with another local retailer under the Tire Town Team banner.
Lucas Tire owner Calvin Lucas will stay with Tire Kingdom and be in charge of real estate development in the New Orleans area for new stores, Mr. Wolford said. Lucas Tire was founded in Jackson, Miss., in 1965 and entered the New Orleans market in 1980.
Mr. Lucas couldn't be reached for comment.
Bobby Franklin, owner of Wildcat Tire, continues with Tire Kingdom as manager of the Folkson store, while B|&|C Tire owners Stanley Stewart and Mark Cochran are pursuing other business interests, Mr. Wolford said.
These purchases by Tire Kingdom are its first since the Riviera Beach-based chain was bought by TBC Corp. in June 2000.
Mr. Wolford said the plan was "to operate the business for at least one year prior to any new expansion.
"However, there's no shortage of potential buy-out candidates in the marketplace," he said, "so we decided to make some moves at this time."
The company has no set expansion plans for 2001, Mr. Wolford said, but will continue to look at opportunities as they arise.
Tire Kingdom is considered North America's sixth largest independent tire dealership. It sells Michelin, Continental, General, Pirelli, Toyo and Dunlop along with TBC's Sigma brand, and also is the North American importer and distributor of the Fate brand from Argentina.