New owner Icahn Enterprises L.P. — which paid $1.03 billion for Pep Boys after outbidding Bridgestone Americas over a several-week tug-of-war in late 2015 — has stated it intends to integrate its existing Auto Plus auto parts stores with Pep Boys but to date has yet to disclose more detailed plans.
Among the companies new to the rankings this year is 4 Wheel Parts, the retail arm of Transamerican Auto Parts Co., the Compton, Calif.-based manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing group focused on the off-road sector.
With 75 retail stores, 4 Wheel Parts is ranked at No. 17, but even before the dealership could make its debut on the Tire Business Top 100, however, it too was swept up in the M&A wave.
Off-road vehicle maker Polaris Industries Inc. struck a deal in early October to buy privately held Transamerican for $665 million. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions and is expected to close by year-end 2016, the companies said.
4 Wheel Parts, which operates 75 retail stores in the U.S. and Canada, accounted for 61 percent of Transamerican's $740 million in sales for the year ended Sept. 30. The retail stores also handle online transactions as well, which helps explain their $6 million average annual sales volume.
Some dealerships worth mentioning for their organic growth:
- Belle Tire Distributors Inc.—six new stores, including the dealership's first four in Indiana, raising the total to 97;
- Town Fair Tire Centers — seven new stores, including the East Haven, Conn.-based dealership's first in Vermont, in Rutland, and one acquistion, that of Sam Wibberly Tire in Dayville, Conn. Town Fair's 94 stores earn it the No. 15 ranking on the Top 100.
- Bob Sumerel Tire & Auto Service — expanded its reach to 34 locations in part by adding responsibility for five AAA Tire & Auto Service locations in the Dayton and Toledo, Ohio, areas. AAA Allied Group Inc., a Cincinnati-based travel services company, bought the retail business of Bob Sumerel Tire in 2009.
Other dealerships debuting in the Top 100 include:
- Southern Tire Mart of Columbia, Miss. The nation's largest independent commercial dealer has been adding retail services gradually to its network of commercial locations to the point where it now has 29 such stores.
- Rental Concepts L.L.C. of Jacksonville, Ark. This RNR Tire Express & Custom Wheel franchisee debuts with 18 locations. (See a related RNR story on page 31.)
- Big O Tires/California of San Francisco. This franchise partnership of Chris Monteverde, Abe Matar and Savendra Dutt operates 17 Big O stores in northern California, including one opened in San Jose in late September. (See a related Big O story on page 13.)
- Koldenhoven Enterprises of Colorado Springs, Colo. Another Big O franchisee — under the leadership of multiple Big O Tires award winner Scott Koldenhoven — with 13 stores in Colorado and New Mexico.
- Gill's Point S of The Dalles, Ore. This dealership, under the direction of Eric Gill, has grown to 14 outlets in Oregon and converted them all in the past year to the Point S Tire & Auto Service flag, the retail identity that Tire Factory Group has adopted.
- Big O Tires/Arizona of Phoenix. This dealership, under owner Tony Williams, has grown to a dozen Big O locations throughout Arizona.
- Western Automotive Group of Las Vegas. This newly formed dealership, owned by Mark Rhee, acquired 11 Big O stores in the Las Vegas area from TBC Corp. and opened a 12th location just recently.
The Top 100 includes 13 dealerships, with 254 outlets collectively, that are franchisees: seven that fly the Big O Tires flag, three that are Car-X Tire affiliates, three that belong to the RNR Tire rent-to-own network, and two that are aligned with Midas (including one, Leeds West Group, that operates both Big O and Midas outlets).
By franchise identity, the dealership groups are:
- Big O — Leeds West Group, 56 locations (some are Midas/Speedee); Golden West Tire Centers, 26 locations; Big O Tires/California, 17 locations; MFA Petroleum Co., 16 outlets; Koldenhoven Enterprises (formerly BBAC Partnership Group), 13 stores; Big O Tires/Arizona, 12 stores; and Western Automotive Group, 12 stores.
- Car-X Tire — Gorrepati Service Systems Inc., 24 locations; Brex Inc., 18 locations; and NONA Inc., 16 locations.
- Midas/Speedee — Auto Systems Experts Inc., 39 locations; Leeds West Group.
- RNR — Rental Concepts L.L.C., 18 locations; RIMS USA L.L.C., 16 locations; Gulf Coast L&P, 12 locations; RNR Tire Express (Larry Sutton), seven locations.
In addition, MFA Petroleum — Big O Tire's franchisee in Missouri — operates nine Jiffy Lube stores in addition to its 16 Big O stores in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
To reach this reporter: [email protected]; 330-865-6145; Twitter: @reifenmensch