Mavis and TBC: No Strangers to Each Other

June 5, 2023

Mavis Tire Express Services Corp.’s pending purchase of 595 TBC Corp.-owned retail tire stores isn’t the first deal between the two companies. 

In February 2020, Mavis acquired 112 NTB Tire and Service Centers from TBC. The stores were located in the Boston, Mass.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Chicago, Ill.; and Atlanta, Ga., markets. 

That deal propelled Mavis to the second spot on the MTD 100, which lists the 100 largest independent tire store chains in the U.S. It also left TBC with 615 locations under the NTB and Tire Kingdom banners.  

Mavis is set to finalize its purchase of 595 Tire Kingdom and NTB stores within the next few weeks, according to a statement issued by TBC on May 22. 

After the deal closes, Mavis says it will have 2,000 retail locations, making it the largest tire dealership on the MTD 100, in terms of store count. 

When Mavis acquired the 112 NTB stores three years ago, then-TBC CEO and President Erik Olsen said that “further consolidating our NTB footprint is consistent with our strategy to focus on core markets and entering into this agreement with Mavis makes great strategic sense for our company. 

“The cash from this sale will serve to accelerate strategic initiatives that we are confident will support our underlying mission to exceed the expectations of all of our customers and partners spanning retail, franchise, wholesale, distribution and ecommerce.” 

History of NTB/Tire Kingdom 

NTB was created in 1997 when Sears Roebuck & Co. converted 278 of its nearly 300 NTW and Tire America stores to the then-new NTB format.  

Sears had intended to open 700 NTB outlets by 2001, but ultimately fell short of that goal. 

TBC acquired NTB for $225 million in 2023.

Locations included 36 NTB stores in the Dallas, Texas, market; 19 NTB outlets in Chicago; plus outlets in Boston, Philadelphia; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Birmingham, Ala.; and other cities where TBC lacked a retail presence. 

At the time, Larry Day, then-CEO and president of TBC, told MTD that TBC planned to integrate the newly acquired outlets into its Tire Kingdom company-owned chain. He added that the NTB acquisition would boost TBC’s store count by 25%. 

When acquired by TBC, NTB was generating around $425 million a year in revenue, but had shut down numerous locations, shuttering 50 stores in 2000 alone. 

Despite NTB’s shrinking footprint, Day said the acquisition provided “an excellent avenue to increase our volume of private brand tires, which are not currently sold by NTB.” 

At the time, TBC marketed the Sigma, Multi-Mile, Cordovan, Big O and Fulda brands. (NTB offered flag brand tires, including Michelin, BFGoodrich and Goodyear.) 

Tire Kingdom, which TBC acquired from an investment group for $45 million in the year 2000, was founded by Chuck Curcio in 1972 in Florida.  

The acquisition of Tire Kingdom marked TBC’s first big foray into direct ownership of retail outlets. (TBC had acquired the Big O Tires Inc. some four years earlier. At the time, all but 12 of Big O Tires’ 400-plus locations were owned and operated by Big O franchisees.) 

TBC officials said the purchase of Tire Kingdom would give it the opportunity to capture at least 30% of the substantial number of Sigma brand tires sold at the time through the 148-store Tire Kingdom chain, the opportunity to boost auto service revenue and more. 

Tire Kingdom, which was based in Riviera Beach, Fla., generated nearly $225 million in sales during 1999.  

TBC’s Day told MTD that over time, expansion of Tire Kingdom would help push TBC’s annual sales past the $1 billion mark - a milestone TBC achieved in 2001. 

The Tire Kingdom acquisition followed a long string of acquisitions by TBC, including the purchases of Lebanon, N.H..-based Northern States Tire in 1995, Big O in 1996 and the 18-location Carroll Tire of Atlanta, Ga. in 1998.  

After the Tire Kingdom buy-out, TBC continued to acquire tire dealerships, including two Wildcat Tire outlets in Georgia, two B&C Tire stores in Florida and 10 Lucas Tire locations in Louisiana – all near the end of 2001. (Lucas Tire had been one of the largest independent tire retailers in New Orleans.)  

In early-2002, TBC entered the Cleveland, Ohio, market by acquiring 19 Mueller Tire & Brake stores, all of which were converted to the Tire Kingdom banner and format. 

Both Tire Kingdom and NTB continued to grow via acquisition and the opening of greenfield locations. 

In 2015, TBC rebranded 64 Tire Kingdom locations throughout Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Vermont as NTB stores, while maintaining the Tire Kingdom brand in Florida.

The rebranding included exterior and interior store redesigns, deployment of new marketing plans and other efforts. 

Consistent with plan 

In a July 2021 interview with MTD, TBC’s Olsen, who had just retired as CEO and president of the company, said that TBC’s “go-to-market strategy for NTB and Tire Kingdom are extremely similar,” with geography being the main difference, “as Tire Kingdom is Florida-based and NTB has a much wider footprint.” (When he retired. Olsen was succeeded by Laurent Bourrett, who in turn, announced his retirement earlier this month. Sam Kato, a former TBC board member, is TBC’s new president and CEO.) 

When asked to comment on TBC’s consolidation strategy, Olsen responded that “we continuously analyze the assets in our portfolio and periodically fine-tune them to drive superior performance in our core focus areas,” which are “wholesale, franchised stores and company-owned retail locations. 

“Consistent with that stated strategic action plan, TBC elected to further consolidate and focus NTB’s geographic footprint with the sale of the 112 NTB locations to Mavis.” 

Cash generated from the sale “allowed TBC to further invest in our core operating units.” 

About the Author

Mike Manges | Editor

Mike Manges is Modern Tire Dealer’s editor. A 25-year tire industry veteran, he is a three-time International Automotive Media Association award winner and holds a Gold Award from the Association of Automotive Publication Editors. Mike has traveled the world in pursuit of stories that will help independent tire dealers move their businesses forward. Before rejoining MTD in September 2019, he held corporate communications positions at two Fortune 500 companies and served as MTD’s senior editor from 2000 to 2010.