Mr. Rhee, president of Irvine-based Western Automotive Ventures, said, “The opportunity to grow our respective companies through this partnership was one that just felt right in all aspects, and all of our company family team members and I are looking forward to bringing the Western Automotive Ventures mark of excellence to the people of Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.”
More than half, 26, of the NTB stores involved are in Minnesota with another nine in Missouri, eight in Kansas and one in Iowa.
There are existing Big O stores in Iowa (three), Kansas (three) and Missouri (14).
“The growth of the Big O Tires brand continues as we evaluate opportunities, including multi-unit agreements with franchisees to develop territories over several years that will expand dramatically our footprint and unit counts in the future, all in the best interest of the brand,” Lenny Valentino, vice president of franchise development for TBC.
“Over the past two years, we have opened more than 75 stores and expanded the Big O Tires brand into three new states with both new and existing franchisees,” he added.
Brant Wilson, senior vice president of franchise operations for TBC, called the opportunity a “unique one for us in that we had an existing franchisee, who has experienced much success with the Big O brand, interested in growing his portfolio.”
The conversion of 44 NTB retail stores to Big O signage will expand the Big O network to more than 430 locations in 21 states, while at the same time shrinking TBC’s corporate retail network to 736 locations under the NTB, Merchant’s Auto and Tire Kingdom brands.