Retail Wholesale Distribution

Indian tribe buys Burggraf Tire

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Quapaw, Okla.-based Burggraf Corp. has a new owner: the Eastern Shawnee Indian Tribe of Oklahoma. The tribe acquired 100% ownership of the 50-plus-year-old dealership from CEO and President Joe Karnes on March 30 for an undisclosed sum.

Burggraf has seven locations, including two distribution centers and five retail stores. The tribe will run one of the retail stores, while Karnes has retained ownership of three stores, which will continue to operate under the Burggraf name in an exclusive licensing deal. (Karnes also will lease another store from the tribe.) The tribe will operate the company's two warehouses, one located in Texas and the other in Oklahoma.

The Eastern Shawnee Tribe owns a couple of casinos, a recycling center and several other ventures, says Jack Cross, chairman of the tribe's business committee and new Burggraf CEO.

Wanting to diversify its holdings, it looked at 40 businesses before deciding to buy Burggraf. "We were looking for a good business model. The company has run successfully under Joe. It has a good reputation."

Cross says the dealership will pursue "steady growth," which may include some acquisitions. Burggraf carries Goodyear, Kelly, Cooper, Titan and other brands. All of Burggraf's present employees will be retained, he adds.



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