Retail

Kimmel Automotive plans to sell tire centers to Monro Muffler

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Kimmel Automotive Inc. has agreed to sell its 34-store tire chain to Monro Muffler Brake Inc.

The preliminary agreement gives Monro further penetration into Maryland and Virginia. Kimmel does business as Kimmel Tire & Auto in Baltimore, Md., and Tread Quarters in Tidewater, Va.

"This whole thing started because they (Monro) came to town looking for locations," says James Hartman, Kimmel's owner and president. "They had no stores in Tidewater; we had 19."

"We are delighted with the opportunity to substantially enhance our competitive position in the attractive mid-Atlantic market," says Robert Gross, Monro Muffler Brake's CEO. "The purchase of these stores will grow our store base to approximately 550 locations and increase sales by over 10% to approximately $250 million."

There are no plans to close any of the Kimmel stores, which will continue to operate under Kimmel Tire & Auto Centers and Tread Quarters, respectively. The company also intends to retain all Kimmel store employees.

Monro sells Firestone, Bridgestone and Goodyear brand tires. Kimmel has a strong relationship with TBC Corp. and is a big Cordovan dealer, although the chain offers all brands, according to Hartman. He says Monro appears to be getting more into tires than it has in the past.

Kimmel's truck tire division and retread plant are part of the deal, although it is not known what Monro, strictly a retail company, will do with those assets.

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