TOLEDO, Ohio — Three Tuffy Tire & Auto Service locations in Florida — including one that had been idle for more than two years — are operating under new management.
The changes involve two new ownership groups, according to Toledo-based Tuffy Associates Corp., the franchisor.
Stores in Sanford and Oviedo, Fla., in the Orlando metro area were sold to a group operating as Oviedo L.L.C., while the store in Winter Haven, Fla., was taken over by Jay Fernandez, who has been a Tuffy district manager for several Florida Tuffy locations for the past several years.
Oviedo L.L.C. co-owners Thomas and Ashley Reed, a husband-and-wife team, will assume day-to-day management of the Sanford and Oviedo locations, Tuffy Associates said.
Mr. Reed is described by Oviedo L.L.C. Co-Owner Joseph Muehl as a "seasoned" ASE master mechanic. He and his wife also have "extensive" backgrounds in the automotive repair business.
Mr. Muehl said he and his partners "recognize the opportunity the (Tuffy) franchises bring in this economic environment in terms of growth. Other partners in the business are Nathan Trombetti and Trey Aulls, brokers with Secured Investment Lending, Tuffy said.
"This group has a firm grasp on the fundamentals of this business," Tuffy Auto President and CEO Roger Hill said. "They understand that in order to be successful, every repair must be completed right the first time with every customer leaving knowing their vehicle is dependable and safe to drive."
Oviedo L.L.C. purchased the franchises in Sanford and Oviedo from Neptuin Gonzales Sr. and Jr. of Inline Auto Corp. The stores have been in operation since 2000 and 2002, respectively, Tuffy said.
Sanford and Oviedo are cities of 54,000 and 33,000 resident, respectively, located north and northeast of Orlando.
The store in Winter Haven had been closed since for for two-plus years, Tuffy said, at the discretion of its prvious owner.
Tuffy Associates said Mr. Fernandez brings several years of automotive repair experience and "is especially equipped to run this business" due to his local ties to the Winter Haven community.
"I have seen firsthand how this company truly values their customers and building relationships with them, which is why I am so confident in my decision to become a franchise owner," Mr. Fernandez said.
"We couldn't be more excited to have someone like Jay reopen the Winter Haven Tuffy location," Mr. Hill said. "Jay's automotive expertise and local business relationships will serve him well."
Winter Haven is a community of about 40,000 residents about 50 miles east of Tampa.
The reopening of Winter Haven brings the number of Tuffy locations in the Sunshine state to 54, the largest number in any of the 14 states where Tuffy is active.
Nationwide there are 175 Tuffy locations in operation, according to the franchisor's website.