With $46 million in sales last year and 175 employees, Callaghan Tire is the second largest independent commercial dealership in Florida, and No. 35 in North America. It operates through a dozen servicing outlets stretching the length of Florida, from Jacksonville in the north to Miami in the south.
The dealership also is among the 50 largest truck tire retreaders in North America, producing 289 units a day at two plants.
In addition to running his own company for the past four decades, Mr. Callaghan looks back on 20-plus more years in the tire industry as a sales executive with Michelin North America Inc. and Bandag Inc. He and his wife Betty started the dealership in 1978 by taking over a mothballed Bandag franchise in Bradenton.
Mr. Mead started working with Mr. Callaghan a year ago on a consulting basis, but the two native Chicagoans have known each since the '90s, when Mr. Mead was a sales executive with Bandag and Mr. Callaghan a Bandag franchisee. They have kept in touch since, which helped ease the decision to bring Mr. Mead in, Mr. Callaghan said in a conversation with Tire Business.
For his part, Mr. Mead said the opportunity to run a business such as Callaghan Tire is a welcome one, considering the business' "great brand name and reputation" all over Florida and strong alliance with Bridgestone/Bandag as a supplier of new tires and retread technology.
"The challenge for us will be to focus on sustaining long-term profitable growth," Mr. Mead said. "This will require us to think differently about the business,…but if we don't think differently we'll end up being one of those companies (in the mergers/acquisition pool).
Mr. Mead, 58, stressed there's "great opportunity to drive growth and profits" from existing customers and markets, but "I wouldn't rule out expanding into adjacent markets," he said, noting that existing fleet customers are keen to have the dealership continue to service them as they expand into new territories. This may necessitate physical expansion at some point.