Best-One of Indy Expands Again By Acquisition

July 17, 2021

For the second time in three months, Indy Tire Centers Inc. dba Best-One of Indy has acquired a fellow Indiana-based tire dealership, extending its reach to 14 locations in the center of the state.

On July 19 Best-One of Indy takes over ownership of Riley Park Tire in Greenfield, Ind. Jim Helgason started the business in 1963 with two employees, and it’s grown into both a retail and commercial tire business that serves customers in four states. His son Jeff Helgason, who worked in the business for 35 years, is selling it to Indy Tire Centers.

Rich Elliott, president of Best-One of Indy, says Riley Park Tire has been “closely associated with Best One (for most of its existence) because of the relationship Jim Helgason and Paul Zurcher, founder of Best-One, had working together. Riley Park Tire has been a customer of Zurcher Tire for well over 40 years.”

So Elliott says when Jeff Helgason decided it was time to step away from his role as an owner, he turned to the Zurcher family, who then introduced him to Best-One of Indy. (And while he will no longer work in the day-to-day operations of Riley Park Tire, Jeff Helgason is joining Zurcher Tire, and will work for Mark Zurcher in an ag tire sales role, Elliott said.)

“The main reason that the Helgasons wanted to sell to us is because for 58 years they have been family-owned, and they wanted to transition to a company that had the same philosophy of family first, team members are our family and we take care of family. (They wanted to) make sure their team members are well taken care of. We want to honor their legacy. It’s vital for the community and customers to know that they won’t be seeing much change — Riley Park Tire will still have the same great local people at the store offering the same great service they have come to trust over the years.”

Important pieces of that legacy include taking care of customers and taking care of employees, Elliott says.

“One of the things that really excites us, not only is the vast customer base exciting for us, but also the large number of long-term employees that they have. People have been with them over 30 yrs; we have one person just shy of 50 years with the company,” Elliott says. “It's nice to buy a business for the revenue and customer base, but really you buy a business for the employees, for the people, because they’re the ones who make the company go.”

Elliott, who spoke to MTD while on site at Riley Park Tire, acknowledges integrating a team with that much history might present some extra challenges. Riley Park Tire has 35 employees, and now gives Best-One of Indy 190 team members across 14 locations.

Elliott says the key to the integration of the team “starts by listening. We get to know them.

“We are who we are.  We’re the same people as Jim and Jeff. There's no pretense. We roll up our sleeves and get to work just like everybody else. Hopefully they see us as authentic and that our care for people is authentic. Our mission will never change; we are creating raving fans, and that starts with our internal raving fans — our people.”

The addition of Riley Park Tire continues Best-One of Indy’s expansion in the commercial side, though Riley Park Tire does business in both consumer and commercial tires. Sales are split 42% ag, 35% dedicated to passenger and light truck tires, and 23% on other commercial tires, Elliott says.

Even though Best-One of Indy just acquired R&T Tire, a two-store dealership in April, Elliott says the company couldn’t turn down this opportunity to expand again.

“It’s no different than on the commercial side when a new fleet comes your way — you never say no. When these opportunities present themselves, and they seem to be presenting themselves at a rapid rate right now, it's hard to say no because you don’t want to give up that opportunity to get new market share that a new business brings to your company.”

As for the steady pace of these opportunities presenting themselves, Elliott has a theory. He’s developed this theory based on his interactions with those looking to exit the business.

“There's a band, an age group of tire dealers, that have now gotten to the point of thinking about retiring, going out on top, but they don't have a succession plan. Then Covid hit and now the difficult employment situation across many industries where jobs are available, but the people are not there to fill those spots. They have just reached the point where they know that now is the time.”

About the Author

Joy Kopcha | Managing Editor

After more than a dozen years working as a newspaper reporter in Kansas, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, Joy Kopcha joined Modern Tire Dealer as senior editor in 2014. She has covered murder trials, a prison riot and more city council, county commission, and school board meetings than she cares to remember.