CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Add Left Lane Auto L.L.C. to the growing list of venture-capital-backed enterprises gathering steam in the tire retail/auto repair sector, albeit with a "boutique" twist.
Founded in 2021 in Champaign by a handful of tire-industry veterans, Left Lane Auto has grown to 33 locations via 11 individual acquisitions, the largest of which — Modica Bros Tire of Beaumont, Texas, and Clark Tire/Warehouse Tire of central Missouri — brought nine stores each into the fold.
The business has more than doubled in size this year with acquisitions totaling 19 points of sale.
While backed by private equity — Granite Hall Partners Inc., a Chicago-based "boutique" private-equity company — the principals of Lane Auto promote the company as one with an operations-first philosophy, based on their collective decades of experience owning and running businesses in the retail tire and auto repair sector.
The company is led by Parham Parastaran, CEO and founding partner, who previously owned and managed a chain of 17 stores under the Car-X Tire franchise program. Parastaran sold that business, NONA Inc., in 2017 to Monro Inc., which in turn had acquired the Car-X Tire franchise business in 2015.
Other partners include: Jeff Beasley, former president of Clay Dooley Tire & Auto, which Left Lane Auto purchased in 2021; Derek Dimke, a former LinkedIn executive; and Kim Price, who was corporate office manager of Parastaran's Car-X Tire business.
In its promotional material, Left Lane Auto describes itself as a company providing a "simplified approach" to selling one's business, pledging to carry out a purchase with "little to no" disruption to a business owner's employees or customers.
In a conversation with Tire Business, Parastaran said his and his partners' backgrounds as owners/operators of tire retail/auto repair businesses have a positive influence in their talks with the owners of businesses they're considering acquiring.
"They're more comfortable with us, considering our backgrounds," Parastaran said. "It also means we have a lot in common with the dealerships' personnel, which helps during the transition to new ownership."
In nearly every case, he noted, the former owners are still on friendly terms with Left Lane Auto management.
Its capital-equity partner, Granite Hall Partners, describes itself as a firm that creates private-investment vehicles in select categories of the liquid and illiquid alternative investment universe. Left Lane Auto also taps into more traditional sources of capital, Parastaran said, which has made the acquisition process a bit more challenging in light of rising interest rates.