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U.S. Auto Care plans more stores

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Dearborn Heights, Mich.-based U.S. Auto Care LLC wants to have more than 20 stores by the end of 2004.

"We're meeting with K-Mart tomorrow (about opening) an additional site in Utica, Mich.," says U.S. Auto Care President Steve Wilson.

U.S. Auto Care has 13 Big O Tires Inc. franchise outlets in the greater Detroit area; some of them are former Penske Auto Centers facilities that are attached to K-Mart outlets.

If U.S. Auto Care can work out a deal with K-Mart, the Utica store should open by March 1, says Wilson.

U.S. Auto Care wants to open five or six more shops in Michigan and then start opening outlets in Chicago.

"We have some great lease deals available to us in that market," says Wilson, who adds the decision to enter "The Windy City" ultimately rests with Big O owner TBC Corp.

TBC finalized its acquisition of National Tire & Battery (NTB) two months ago.

The Chicago market boasts nearly 20 NTB stores.

TBC officials have discussed the possibility of adding even more NTB locations to the region.

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