Coker Group sold to Wade Kawasaki/capital investment group partnership
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A group of Coker Group executives, led by President and CEO Wade Kawasaki and with backing from Irving Place Capital, has acquired the supplier of collector car and motorcycle tires and wheels.
Financial terms were not disclosed. Irving Place Capital is a New York-based investment firm active in the consumer, industrial and packaging sectors.
Coker Group will continue to operate under the same leadership team and staff that helped drive that growth while expanding both its range of products and its portfolio of companies, the new ownership group said.
Corky Coker, son of company founder Harold Coker who led the company for 40 years until his retirement in 2014, will retain ownership of Honest Charley Speed Shop and a property management company, which he will continue to manage with his children, the group said.
Mr. Kawasaki, Coker Group president and chief operating officer since 2014, thanked Corky Coker for his decades of leadership at Coker Tire and for the "confidence and trust he has placed in me as I have led the company and positioned it for the next chapter.
"We intend to accelerate growth with our partners at Irving Place Capital," Mr. Kawasaki said, "as we expand into newer models and markets while continuing to serve the traditional restoration market that has been our home for six decades.
"Coker Group will continue to provide our customers with the same best-in-class products, great customer service that they know to expect and we look forward to creating more jobs, offering more products and continuing the Coker Group legacy together."
Harold Coker founded Coker Tire in 1958 as a local tire store, which grew into the vintage tire and wheel supplier it is today under Corky Coker's leadership. The company serves the hot rod, muscle car, motorcycle, motorsports and import markets.
"After my retirement in 2014, the Coker Group flourished under the leadership of Wade and his team," Corky Coker said. "Coker Group has been and will continue to be committed to our core vintage customer and I have full confidence that this next step will be terrific for the company and the employees.
"The collector car market is evolving, and with the current surge in interest in 1970s, 1980s and even '90s vehicles, no one is better suited to expand the company strategically than Wade, who has always had a deep appreciation for these vehicles."
Among Irving Place Capital's holdings is Dynojet Research, a high-performance vehicle aftermarket supplier. Irving Place Capital Co-Managing Partner Phil Carpenter worked with aftermarket veteran Dan Gresham and Mr. Kawasaki on this transaction.
Mr. Carpenter said the partnership with Mr. Kawasaki and the Coker Group team "positions the company for long-term growth both domestically and internationally.
"The Coker family built a brand and a portfolio of companies that are beloved by enthusiasts around the world. By partnering with Wade and his team we will together advance that legacy well into the future."
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