September 27, 2023

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Shakeups continue for retail tire dealerships in 2022 – Tire Business

5 min read

At the risk of sounding like broken record, mergers and acquisitions in the past 12 months were (again) the driving force for growth and expansion among North America’s largest independent retail tire dealers and auto service providers.

According to Tire Business research, as many 600 retail tire points of sale changed hands in the past year in at least 25 separate transactions.

When all the M&A activity is taken into consideration, Mavis Tire Supply emerged as the dealership at the top of the heap, with 1,332 retail outlets doing business under nine brands. That total pushed the Millwood, N.Y.-based enterprise past Monro Inc. for No. 1 on the Tire Business ranking of top independent dealers.

Monro is a close second at 1,291 outlets, which in turn is just ahead of Reinalt Thomas Corp., with 1,119 Discount Tire/America’s Tire stores.

Over the past year Mavis’ acquisitions include:

  • Melvin’s Tire Pros & Auto Service Centers with four stores in New England. North Kingstown, R.I.-based Melvin’s four stores in Seekonk, Mass., and North Kingstown, Smithfield and Johnston, R.I., which now go to market as Melvin’s by Mavis.
  • 18 Gateway Tire stores in Louisiana and Texas from Dunlap & Kyle Inc.
  • Jack Williams Tire & Auto Service Centers, with 39 retail stores in eastern Pennsylvania and a wholesale business serving dealers in five Eastern Seaboard states. Jack Williams also operates a burgeoning mobile tire and auto service business under the JACK Mobile Tire brand.
  • Action Gator Tire Stores’ retail assets, comprising 23 outlets throughout central Florida. This is the second time Mavis and Christensen Enterprises, founded by Fredrick Christensen in 1964, have done business with each other. A few years ago Mavis bought five stores in south Florida — in Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Plantation, Pompano Beach and Sunrise — that Christensen had acquired in 2010.
  • Tuffy Tire & Auto Service Centers, a 51-year-old automotive repair and maintenance franchisor with 165 service centers in operation across the Midwest, South and Southeast, including 42 corporate-operated sites. According to information posted on the firm’s corporate website, franchised Tuffy outlets average a little more than $1 million a year in revenue.

The Jack Williams acquisition also strengthened Mavis’ wholesale business: Jack Williams’ JWT Wholesale business serves more than 5,000 customers throughout Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania through a network of 11 warehouses.

Along with the Express Oil/Tire Engineers franchise program Mavis acquired in 2018, Mavis’ extended footprint spans 1,839 retail outlets (both corporate-owned and franchised) along with the growing wholesale business.

Impressive as that might seem, Mavis still trails TBC Corp. in terms of overall market clout. With its Big O Tires and Midas Car Care franchise programs and its 600-plus NTB and Tire Kingdom retail outlets, TBC still reigns atop this performance metric with over 2,250 affiliated points of sale on the retail side of its ledger.

Even Reinalt Thomas/Discount Tire — which up to now had spurned the M&A channel for growth — got into the act, buying Tire Rack Inc. late in 2021. That deal put Discount Tire into the wholesale business for the first time, strengthened its already prominent online/mail-order business and added a mobile tire-fitting business, ASAP Mobile Tire, to the company’s business mix.

In addition, Discount Tire only recently disclosed plans to evaluate a drive-through tire-service model — dubbed “Pit Pass” — for a potential wider rollout. The first Pit Pass store opened in early October in Flowery Branch, Ga., a northern Atlanta suburb.

According to Tom Williams, chief experience officer, Discount Tire’s goal in launching the Pit Pass concept is “to meet the busy lifestyle of today’s modern customer and get them taken care of faster and with more personal convenience.”

Discount Tire declined at this time to discuss in detail its plans for the ASAP Mobile Tire business it acquired along with Tire Rack. That business operates 28 locations, including some co-located on Tire Rack and/or Discount Tire properties, that dispatch mobile service vans to customers in their respective geographic areas.

The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company also is evaluating the efficacy of the RoboTire automated tire-servicing system for a potentially wider rollout. Reinalt Thomas invested in the technology a year ago and is conducting trials with a unit at a store in Scottsdale.

Other M&A deals worth mentioning:

Nebraskaland Tire —

  •  Bought McWhorter’s Tire, with eight locations in west Texas, which extends Nebraskaland Tire’s footprint to 47 outlets in five states, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Texas.

Sun Auto & Tire Service —

  • Coopers Auto Repair Specialists, with locations in Pulallup and Tacoma, Wash.;
  • Good Neighbor Tire & Auto Service, with locations in Portland and Beaverton, Ore., and Seattle and Renton, Wash.;
  • Superior Tire, with four stores in northwest Arizona, in Bullhead City, Fort Mohave, Golden Valley and Kingman, with 37 auto service bays among them;
  • Plaza Tire Service of Cape Girardeu, Mo., with 70-plus retail stores spread across Missouri, southern Illinois, western Kentucky and northern Arkansas as well as Plaza’s wholesale business;
  • Delta World Tire, the New Orleans-based family-owned dealership with 17 stores in Louisiana and Mississippi;
  • T.O. Haas Tire & Auto Co., with 27 locations in Nebraska and Kansas; and
  • Bruce’s Tire & Auto Service, with seven locations in northern California;

Pomp’s Tire Service Inc.

  • Whalen Tire, the family-owned retail and commercial tire dealership with eight locations in Montana and one in Washington and a pair of retread plants.

Big Brand Tire & Service

  • MPG Tire & Auto Service, with 11 auto service centers in the Tucson, Ariz., metro area;
  • Community Tire Pros & Auto Care, six stores in the Phoenix metro area;
  • C&R Tire & Automotive, five stores in the Phoenix metro area;
  • S&S Tire Auto Service Center, three stores in the Phoenix area;
  • Integrity Tire, 13 stores in southern California;
  • Tire World Inc. of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and
  • Purcell Tire & Service Center — nine Purcell retail stores in Arizona.

In addition:

• Tire Discounters carried a handful of acquisitions in Georgia and Virginia to complement 20-plus new stores it opened throughout its seven-state business area. Overall, Tire Discounters’ network grew by 38 locations to 188 points of sale.

• Van’s Auto Service Tire Pros has expanded its footprint to 15 stores in northeast Ohio with a handful of acquisitions over the past 18 months of single-store retail businesses —in Canton, Cuyahoga Falls, Norwalk, Parma and Wooster. The dealerships also has taken over a filling-station/auto repair business in west Akron that will become the dealership’s 16th outlet once it is renovated.

• Nelson Tire Inc./Gill’s Point S expanded its network to 36 stores by taking over four more fellow Point S dealers in the Pacific Northwest.

• Belle Tire added 10 greenfield stores in the past year, most of them in the Chicago metro area where it expects to have as many as 60 retail stores open by 2025. The Allen Park, Mich.-based dealership now has 140 stores open in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.

The Top 100 dealerships collectively operate 9,529 points of sale, up 500-plus, or nearly 6%, over the 2021 collective.

Looking the Top 100 in terms on affiliation, there are:

  • Seven Big O Tires franchisees among the 100 operating 169 outlets.
  • Two Car-X Tire franchises with 56 outlets; Monro Inc., owner of the Car-X franchise program, operates 68 Car-X-badged points of sale;
  • Two Point S dealers in the U.S. with 56 outlets between them and three in Canada with 42 outlets among them;
  • One Tire Pros dealer, with 15 outlets.

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