Ramsey, Minn.-based Heartland Tire Inc. has acquired Graham Tire East from Bob and Martha Graham. The deal includes eight combination retail/commercial locations – five in Iowa and three in Minnesota – giving Heartland a total of 27 stores.
Terms of the transaction, which Heartland Tire CEO Dave Mitchell calls the company’s “largest,” have not been disclosed. Graham Tire West locations are not part of the deal. (Graham Tire West is the other part of the overall Graham Tire Co. organization.)
Heartland Tire also has picked up Graham Tire East’s ag tire distribution business.
Graham Tire East’s owners contacted Heartland a few years ago, says Mitchell. “They knew of our reputation and felt like we would be a good place for their employees. We eventually got it worked out this year.”
Prior to the acquisition, roughly half of Heartland’s locations were in “metro areas and half were in rural (areas), which is similar to where Graham’s (locations) are. And those rural locations are where you bring your lawn tractor, your dump trucks, your farm tractors and your personal vehicles. So it made sense. We understand that business and we’re in that business.”
The Graham Tire East acquisition gives Heartland about 130 more employees. “That brings us to about 290.”
Heartland Tire plans to keep the Graham Tire name.
“Graham East and West are known as ‘Your Tire Door Next Door.’ That’s their slogan. And that’s very much how they are. They do a great job, so for us, it’s pretty easy to help them with our processes and our increased volume. I think that’s what we bring to the party.”
Mitchell says Heartland Tire wants to boost its store count to 50.
“In 2011, we had one location. I wrote a business plan to grow our locations to 20 and we’ve done that. A couple of years back, we looked at it again and could see bigger. Our current mission is to get to 50 locations. We are talking with several companies.”
The Spartan Group LLC acted as financial advisor to Graham Tire Company (East) in this transaction.