After the completion of the asset purchase agreement, VIP will continue to own and operate the tire and service components of the business and O'Reilly will own and operate the automotive parts sales and distribution operations. VIP has been in the auto parts business since 1976, when the company opened its first store in Lewiston.
In 2001, VIP was purchased by Watertown, Mass.-based Quirk Tire & Service Corp., which was founded 87 years ago by Edward Quirk Sr. Quirk Tire converted to the full VIP format in 2001. Thomas O. Auger, founder of VIP Discount Auto Center, died in 2010. Mr. Auger operated the dealership along with his son Thomas J. Auger before selling the business to Quirk Tire.
"I want to thank all of our VIP team members who have so loyally served our parts customers over these many years," said VIP President and CEO.John Quirk. "Their hard work and dedication to providing exceptional service is the reason that our parts stores have been so successful."
Mr. Quirk said the dealership is "excited about entering into this very unique business arrangement with O'Reilly," which, he added, "operates one of the most successful chains of auto parts stores in the country. Their dual-market strategy and commitment to serving professional installers is a great fit with our tire and service business."
VIP reported annual sales of $108 million in 2011, with tires and related wheel services accounting for 95 percent of business. Based on the number of stores, VIP is the 13th largest independent dealer chain in the U.S., based on Tire Business' calculations.
Tim Winkeler, VIP's chief operating officer, said the partnership "will allow us to build on the positive momentum we are experiencing in our tire and service business. Our VIP tire and service team members have built great relationships with customers in each of our markets, and now we can focus 100 percent of our energy on growing this very profitable business for the long term."
Springfield-based O'Reilly Automotive retails automotive aftermarket parts, tools, supplies, equipment and accessories in the U.S., serving both the do-it-yourself and professional service provider markets. The company, founded in 1957 by the O'Reilly family, operates 3,896 O'Reilly Auto Parts stores in 39 states as of Sept. 30.