ABRA Auto Body & Glass has purchased all six Lehman’s Garage locations in the Twin Cities.
The deal, for which terms were not disclosed, gives ABRA locations in downtown Minneapolis, southwest Minneapolis, Bloomington, Savage, Eagan and Chaska.
The acquisition continues ABRA’s aggressive expansion while at the same time increasing its footprint close to home.
ABRA opened its first collision-repair shop in Fridley in 1984. It is now based in Brooklyn Park and has 318 shops across the nation, with 40 in Minnesota.
The company has been on a feeding frenzy for more than two years, buying up small or family-owned auto repair chains. It now has collision repair stores in 23 states.
But the Lehman’s Garage acquisition “is particularly special for us as Lehman’s has been serving the community for almost a century,” ABRA CEO Duane Rouse said in a statement. “The history, the reputation and the dedication of the company to providing exceptional customer service and quality repairs is undeniable, and we are eager to carry that tradition of excellence forward.”
Lehman’s Garage was founded in 1917 by L.P. Lehman on the corner of W. 54th Street and Lyndale Avenue S. in Minneapolis.
He passed the business on to his sons, who in 1969 sold it to Dick Cossette. Cossette died in 2002, and the business was run by his widow, former CEO Karen Cossette, and their two sons.
Karen Cossette said the company has been pursued by various prospective buyers, but it was ABRA’s similarities that made the difference and nudged the company to make a sale.
“We chose ABRA because their work ethics closely resemble ours and we share like-minded values of integrity, employee talent and a commitment to customers,” she said. “We’re proud to have them continue the legacy we’ve built over the years.”
Lehman’s Garage is the latest in series of acquisitions for ABRA. In June it bought 23 Kadel’s Auto Body collision repair stores in Idaho, Oregon and Washington state.
In early February, it bought Barrett’s Collision Center and GW Auto Rebuild — two auto-repair companies in Washington state that together had seven locations. Later that month, it bought Crash 1 Off Alpine Collision Center in Rockford, Ill.
Between April and September of 2014, ABRA purchased 15 shops, gaining its first toehold in Ohio and expanding in Tennessee, Indiana, Missouri and North Carolina.
Rouse said ABRA is committed to becoming a national force.
“The accelerated and continued growth is part of the company’s aggressive initiative to dramatically increase its national footprint,” Rouse said. He added that ABRA continues to “seek new opportunities to acquire repair centers and integrate them” into its system.