Montreal, Canada and Detroit, Mich. – Leader Auto Resources (LAR), based in Montreal, and Resilience Capital Partners, a Cleveland-based private equity firm, today announced they will partner to significantly expand LAR’s auto dealership sourcing and service business in the U.S. Through the investment by Resilience Capital, LAR’s existing U.S. business will be rebranded as DealerShopTM, and will be led by automotive industry veterans Mary Petrovich, chairman, and Bill Gryzenia, president and CEO.
DealerShop will operate as a centralized supply chain system for essentially everything a dealership needs to effectively run its business.
“We founded LAR with the aim to create a centralized supply chain system that provides dealers with increased confidence and control in their purchasing activities,” said Robert Issenman, president and CEO of LAR. “This agreement with Resilience Capital will catapult us in our mission, and provide the capital and expertise to replicate our business model in the United States.”
LAR was founded 40 years ago and is the largest sourcing partner for franchised new vehicle dealerships in North America, serving more than 2,000 dealer franchises and 270 collision centers primarily across Canada. Together, LAR and DealerShop plan to grow by leveraging greater purchasing power, enhancing the customer experience through technology investments and process improvements, and elevating its collision center, parts and services offerings.
Recognizing the cyclical nature of the automotive industry, Resilience Capital sees the potential for dealerships and collisions centers to operate profitably throughout these cycles. Bassem Mansour, co-CEO of Resilience Capital, added “With our deep understanding and experience in the automotive services and aftermarket segments, this partnership with LAR fits the Resilience Capital portfolio perfectly as a long-term investment aimed at growth and profitability of the company through new and better services to dealer franchises and collision shops.”
DealerShop, which will handle and expand all of the company’s U.S. operations, will be headquartered in the Detroit area and serve as a subscription-based distribution hub for supplying dealerships with everything needed to operate their business — from administrative supplies and services, to warehouse and direct-purchase products from the world’s leading suppliers, to capital equipment. Experts within the company will routinely and objectively analyze an extensive variety of supplies, parts, equipment and more to deliver dealers the best pricing and streamline steps for their respective purchasing departments.
“DealerShop will operate as a centralized supply chain system for essentially everything a dealership needs to effectively run its business,” said Petrovich. “With more than 17,000 dealerships nation-wide, we believe there is an incredible opportunity to help dealers and collision centers minimize administrative tasks, optimize time devoted to other core functions and realize true cost savings in almost every area of their franchise.”
DealerShop intends to utilize LAR’s proven business model, create stronger distribution channels and utilize its expansive network to successfully negotiate rates locally. In addition to forging its own path in the U.S. market, DealerShop will continue to support LAR’s continued growth in Canada.
“We saw an opportunity to take a longstanding success story in the Canadian market, expand that strategy and employ it on a larger scale in the U.S., where there is a growing need for reliable and efficient car and truck dealership suppliers,” said Gryzenia. “We will put an intense focus on becoming a strong partner to help dealers focus on the areas of support and service as a strategy to enhance their overall profitability.”
The vast majority of inventory purchased through DealerShop will be shipped directly from its planned distribution center and headquarters in the Detroit area. In some cases, items will be drop-shipped directly from the manufacturer, but still ordered through DealerShop.
“This is a great day for LAR and the dealerships and collision centers it serves,” said Al MacPhee, chairman of LAR, president of MacPhee Ford of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and past chairman of the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association. “This deal will result in a stronger company that is even better equipped to help customers save money, operate more profitably, focus on their core businesses and enable them to serve their customers in better ways.”
Current plans call for DealerShop to put an emphasis on growing the Northeast region and into the Midwest before expanding into other areas of the country.
BellMark Partners LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor to LAR.