Pickups Plus Inc., a franchiser of light truck and sport-utility vehicle accessories, recently announced sweeping changes that include new leadership and the relocation of the company's headquarters from Cincinnati to Orlando, Fla.
Patrick J. Tibby has replaced Pickups Plus founder John Fitzgerald as chairman and CEO.
The firm operates four company-owned stores and eight franchise outlets in eight states-Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Idaho, Oregon and California.
Founded in 1993 by Mr. Fitzgerald, Pickups Plus specializes in truck bedliners, tonneau covers, truck caps and bug shields.
In a prepared statement, Mr. Tibby said he intends to implement short-term measures that will reduce operating costs by more than $90,000 per month-which is expected to bring the company into profitability by the end of the second quarter.
The company plans to target Florida for the first phase of what it expects will be a rapid expansion with 30 new stores forecast by the end of 2003.
``The truck, SUV and four-wheeler vehicle accessory market is a multi-billion dollar pie with no recognized national brand, and as ambitious as it may sound, we think we can be that national brand,'' Mr. Tibby said.
The expansion plan calls for the firm to shift its focus from traditional franchising to joint ventures with new-store management teams.
``Joint ownership with strong family or mom-and-pop management teams makes a lot of sense in this business,'' Mr. Tibby said.
``It allows us to accelerate our growth while allowing us to assure the quality and commitment of the people at individual locations."