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Take Manageable Risks

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Oct. 23, 2020—Jason Thomas is a frank and thoughtful operator. He has been in the quick lube business for more than 25 years and is the co-owner of South Bay Lube, which runs 31 Jiffy Lube locations in central Florida.

Successful operators must make more good deals than bad. But Thomas says that it's so important to learn from the deals that didn't go so well. Sometimes it requires a bit of risk-taking to get there.

As an example, he points to a previous acquisition that the company made years ago. The shop was hours away, near the Georgia border. It had been passed over by other outfits, and didn’t appear to be a slam dunk on paper. There were regulatory hurdles that might have made some operators pass on first glance.

There was a risk involved. But he went and visited the location and spent a little more time with the staff. He found that he could overcome the regulatory hurdles. But it was still way beyond the company's normal geographic reach.

“You don't know the people. You have no supervision in the area. So this is the first time I got to experience what I would consider a long-distance acquisition that I was going to run and maintain,” Thomas says.

By spending a bit more time doing on-site research, he found that the store had a lot of room for growth. Even though it was a challenging deal to close, and the distance was new to the company, Thomas and his partner made the move and acquired the store.

It ultimately turned out to be a great location, and sales grew.

“We took the risk, and I couldn't be happier," he says. "It’s literally one of my favorite stores in the whole company.”

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