AKRONTwo major players have joined the ranks of an otherwise staid North American wholesale market this past year.
Singapore's Omni United Pte. Ltd. has evolved into a significant player with national coverage, acquiring two wholesale operations, while Monro Muffler Brake Inc. entered the wholesaling business through the purchase of a tire dealership.
Omni United, an international trading company represented in the the U.S. by Omni United (USA) Inc. of Traverse City, Mich., has grown in the past dozen months from a niche player with a handful of proprietary import brands to a full-fledged wholesaler with 29 warehouses spread across the country, principally through two acquisitions: Interstate Tire Distributor in October 2015 and A to Z Tire & Battery Inc. in June.
Compton, Calif.-based Interstate Tire brought six locations in four Western states, while Amarillo, Texas-based A to Z Tire contributed 21 distribution centers in six statesArizona, California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico and Texas.
Combined, the acquired D/Cs represent more than 700,000 square feet of warehousing space and nearly 9,000 customers.
Acquisitions like these give us an opportunity to work with other manufacturers and collectively design the next generation of technology for distribution, said GS Sareen, founder and CEO of Omni United.
With the tools that are available today, there is tremendous efficiency that can be brought into the distribution business.
The deals expand measurably the distribution reach for Omni United's Goodride, Radar and Timberland brands while also adding a wide range of flag, associate and import brands to the expanded company's portfolio.
Omni United in June hired former Michelin North America Inc. executive Brett Martin as president of the growing distribution division.
Meanwhile, Monro, a Rochester, N.Y.-based auto service and tire retail company, inherited the Tires Now wholesale business in the Carolinas in its recent purchase of retailer Clark Tire & Auto, and management there plans to keep the wholesale arm and expand it. (See related story on page 1.)
Other key events of the past year affecting the wholesale sector:
c American Tire Distributors Holdings Inc. (ATD) hired food industry executive Stuart Schuette as its CEO, replacing William Berry, who retired but retained a role as adviser to the nation's largest independent wholesaler.
c Cleveland-based Dealer Tire L.L.C. sold its Canadian arm, Dealer Tire Canada U.L.C., to Groupe Touchette Inc., a Montreal-based tire wholesaler and retailer. The deal expanded Touchette's distribution network to more than 25 warehouses across Canada.
c Kenda Rubber Industrial Co. Inc. named Parrish Tire Co. of Winston-Salem, N.C., its authorized distributor for Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
As an authorized distributor, Parrish Tire will have the responsibility of growing Kenda Traction associate dealer program in the coverage area, where Kenda said it has about 300 Traction dealers and 600 customers overall.
c Tire Wholesale Warehouse, a Bridgestone Americas subsidiary, added seven distributon centers in the past year, expanding the TWW network to 31 locations in 19 states, providing nationwide coverage.
c Tire and auto parts wholesaler U.S. AutoForce acquired the assets of Premier Tire Terminal Inc., a Denver-based family-owned company that has operated in Colorado for 76 years. Appleton, Wis.-based U.S. AutoForce had two warehouses in Coloradoin Denver and Colorado Springsprior to the Premier Tire deal.
c Tire retailer and wholesaler North Gateway Tire Co. Inc. expanded and upgraded its distribution center in Seville, Ohio.
c Max Finkelstein Inc. opened a distribution center in Hanover, Md., allowing the Astoria, N.Y.-based wholesaler to initiate service to dealers in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
The 94,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in Hanover is Finkelstein's 13th wholesale distribution center.