Tire Guys Inc., which does business as Tire-Rama Inc. in Montana and Wyoming, is putting the finishing touches on a major acquisition: Alton's Tire & Automotive.
According to Tire Guys CEO and President Dave Wehr, the deal, which will be completed by Oct. 1, 2008, will:
* increase the Tire-Rama retail chain to 45 stores, making it the 22nd largest independent tire store chain in the United States;
* give the company stores in Washington and Idaho.
The 13-store Alton's chain, founded by Duane Alton 40 years ago, is based in Spokane, Wash. Tire Guys is based in Billings, Mont. Wehr declined to reveal the terms of the agreement.
Both dealerships are part of the Modern Tire Dealer 100, an annual list of the top 100 domestic independent tire store chains. Prior to the purchase, Tire-Rama was tied for 32nd on the list; Alton's was tied for 88th.
"Their strengths are our weaknesses, and vice versa," says Wehr of the Alton's Tire stores, which focus on automotive service. Tire-Rama has made a concerted effort to expand its automotive service offerings the last few years.
When the deal is finalized, Duane Alton, a co-owner along with his son, Matt, will retire. Matt will stay on with Tire Guys in some capacity.
Tire-Rama sells Bridgestone, Firestone, Cooper, Kenda,
Pro-Comp and Yokohama tires. Alton's sells Hankook, Bridgestone, Nexen and Dayton tires, among others.
"The plan is to eventually move our marketing strategies over there," says Wehr. He adds that the Alton's Tire name has value and will not be changed.
Bob Ulrich was named Modern Tire Dealer editor in August 2000. He joined the magazine in 1985 as assistant editor, and has been responsible for gathering statistical information for MTD's "Facts Issue" since 1993.