ANTIOCH, Ill.Parham Parastaran, one of Car-X Auto Service's largest franchisees, has purchased Fast Tire, an independent tire dealership in Antioch, and is incorporating the Car-X franchise model into that location.
With the acquisition, Mr. Parastaran expands his network of Car-X locations to eight throughout Illinoisin Antioch, Bloomington (two stores), Champaign (three), Macomb and Springfield (one each).
Mr. Parastaran bought the Fast Tire store from Tony Lavelle, who is no longer associated with the business. The store opened initially in 2007 as the prototype of a retail franchise concept being developed then by Antioch Tire Inc., which is now part of Tredroc Tire Services.
The Antioch location offers a customer-centric waiting room/showroom with amenities such as a coffee bar with a Starbucks coffee machine, an Internet café featuring restaurant-style booths, a Sports Zone featuring plasma TVs, plush chairsincluding leather lounge chairs in the Sports Zonea fireplace and more.
That location is a bit of a departure for Mr. Parastaran, whose other outlets are in smaller communities in central Illinois. He said he's been studying the Fast Tire store for some time but waited for the right market conditions before approaching Mr. Lavelle about taking over.
Fast Tire has a greater emphasis on tires than his other stores, he said, but by adding the Car-X name and service portfolio, that store should see a boost in automotive service business. At the same time, he noted he and his other Car-X store personnel will be able to learn more about selling tires effectively.
Two of Mr. Parastaran's other locations are former tire dealerships as well. The Bloomington store previously was Davis Tire, while the store in Macomb previously was Nixon Tire.
Mr. Parastaran started in the business in 1992, initially working with his father, an engineer and Iranian emigree who had opened a Car-X store in Champaign, Ill., in the late 1980s. The elder Mr. Parastaran continued to work in the business until 2000.
Rich Brayer, vice president of marketing for Car-X Inc., called Mr. Parastaran one of our finest dealers, who is innovating the business with products and services, including a Car-X Express Oil concept and fully embracing the tire business with the acquisition of Fast Tire.
Mr. Parastaran is a member of the Car-X dealer council. His stores generated about $12 million in revenue last year, he said, with auto service accounting for about two-thirds of sales. Tires and related services are growing rapidly, he added.
In the past few years, he has staged as a charity fundraiser the Car-X Crazy Ka twist on traditional 5K runs where competitors race over, around, under and through 5 kilometers of obstaclesincluding plenty of mudat the Champaign County Fairgrounds. Last year the event attracted 1,500 runners, whose participation resulted in raising nearly $50,000 for 25 local charities.
Car-X Auto Service has 151 locations in six states, with significant clusters of stores in the Chicago, Indianapolis and Cincinnati metro areas. The chain is operated by Schaumburg, Ill.-based Car-X Associates Corp., a unit of Tuffy Associates Corp., which operates the Tuffy Tire & Auto Service chain as well as Car-X.
The firm's website said new and existing locations are available in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. The business sold 17 corporate-owned Tuffy Muffler and Car-X stores in Wisconsin and South Carolina last year to Monro Muffler Brake Inc.
Car-X, whose president and CEO is Roger W. Hill, was founded in 1971 by a group of muffler shop owners.