VIP Discount Auto Centers Inc. is building two stores in Maine and renovating nine stores through the winter months.
The 48-store chain, headed by John Quirk, is expanding the number of bays in its outlets and giving many of them a facelift.
Upon completion, the two new locations-located in Topsham and Mexico-will be 14,870 square feet with 10 bays and 11,500 square feet with six bays, respectively, and likely will open sometime in March, Mr. Quirk said.
The nine-store renovation involves expanding the size of some locations in order to add auto service in centers that offer only tire installations, he said. VIP is renovating stores in Merrimack and Portsmouth, N.H., and Windham, Sanford, Westbrook, Brunswick, Augusta, Holden and Calais, Maine.
``In some cases we're adding on, but in most cases we're taking space from the retail floor and blowing out the building and putting overhead doors in to get another two or three or four bays into the facilities,'' Mr. Quirk said.
``We're always looking for opportunities in the marketplace. We're looking for three or four more locations in New Hampshire, and I think that's something we'll accomplish in calendar year 2003. We're al-so looking in Massachusetts and then we hope in 2004 to open some stores in Vermont.''
VIP Discount Tire carries Multi-Mile, Pirelli, General, Continental, Goodyear, Dunlop, Michelin, BFGoodrich and Uniroyal brands.
The company employs almost 1,200 and expected to post $110 million in sales in 2002. Mr. Quirk purchased VIP from founder Thomas Auger in 2001.