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VOL. 125 | NO. 55 | Monday, March 22, 2010

ABRA Expands to Collierville

By Eric Smith

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Rendering courtesy of ABRA Auto Body & Glass

ABRA Auto Body & Glass will expand its Memphis-area footprint this year by building a $2 million facility at 430 E. Winchester Blvd. in Collierville.

The Minneapolis-based company plans to build a 13,100-square-foot auto glass replacement and repair facility shop on roughly 1.3 acres along the north side of Winchester Boulevard east of its intersection with South Byhalia Road.

ABRA last week completed a land deal that gave the company the property it needed to establish a seventh shop in the Mid-South. The company has six Memphis-area locations, including three in the city, one in Cordova, one in Bartlett and one in Horn Lake.

Tim Adelmann, the company’s executive vice president of business development, said a Collierville location made a lot of sense for ABRA.

“We’ve looked to expand in the Memphis market and we believe the Collierville area is an ideal community for us,” he said. “Many of our business partners, which are insurance companies, have expressed a need in that area, so we’re happy to work with the city of Collierville and look forward to serving the community.”

All about location

Operating under the entity ABRA Tennessee Inc., the national chain bought the vacant land from the previous owner, Cartwright Farms Partnership, for $768,515.

ABRA immediately sold it to Collierville Investments LLP, a local affiliate of St. Cloud, Minn.-based development company Barclay Management Group LLC, for $465,000.

Allan Stowe of Barclay said the firm will retain land ownership. It signed a lease agreement with ABRA, a fellow Minnesota company that Barclay has worked with for about 18 years. The term of the lease is 15 years with ABRA having the option of three five-year extensions.

Collierville Investments financed the purchase with a $1.8 million loan through First National Bank of South Dakota.

Jim Dimond is principal with Bloomington, Minn.-based Cardinal Development Corp., the company that handles development activity for ABRA around the nation. His firm found the land for the new site, which he agreed fit a critical need for ABRA.

“Collierville was a natural and attractive expansion opportunity,” Dimond said.

Some site work has been completed, including the adjustment of grades on the land. Crews are finishing site work now, and full construction should be under way in the next 30 days, wrapping during third quarter.

The general contractor is Minneapolis-based Varley Construction Inc., a company ABRA has worked with before. Adelmann said Varley would hire local subcontractors.

Changing model

ABRA will build on 1.3 acres, leaving the other land for sale or lease, said Dimond. He said Grubb & Ellis will list the property. A call to the local office of Grubb & Ellis wasn’t immediately returned.

ABRA, founded in Minneapolis in 1984, debuted in Memphis in the late 1980s with a handful of franchise locations, but the ABRA corporation in 1999 bought them out from the franchisee. Now all of its 99 locations in 11 states are corporate-owned.

The Collierville locale will be either ABRA’s 101st or 102nd store, depending on what stores come online in the next six months, Adelmann said. It also will be the first of ABRA’s newest store prototype.

ABRA employs 130 in its Memphis-area stores; the Collierville shop will employ 10 people to start and up to 15 to 16 full-time positions once fully operational.

Adelmann said the shop will be a fully air-conditioned repair center, something that is an important consideration when developing new shops, recruiting workers and remaining competitive.

“We want to attract and retain the best and brightest craftsmen in the industry,” he said, “and to do that we believe you’ve got to have the best work environment for them.”

PROPERTY SALES 100 375 3,773
MORTGAGES 63 202 2,481
BUILDING PERMITS 392 651 8,607
BANKRUPTCIES 38 117 2,021