Received word this morning that big things are afoot at California-based EZ Lube. You might remember that back in December 2005, the investment firm of Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill & Co. (BRS) poured an undisclosed amount of capital into EZ Lube, which was co-founded in 1988 by Rick Teasta and Mike Dobson. At the time, EZ Lube operated 70 stores throughout Southern California. Fast-forward a little more than two years and it now seems as if Dobson and Teasta are out, having been shown the door by their equity partners at BRS. Sources familiar with the company have told NOLN that Marc Graham, the head man at industry vendor InstallerEdge and former president of Jiffy Lube International has been tabbed by BRS to head EZ Lube.
We’re told the relationship with Dobson/Teasta and BRS had been testy in recent months as EZ Lube found it difficult to expand significantly beyond the existing 81-store network. Much of that difficulty is likely traced to a series of negative TV exposes and subsequent legal action taken by the California Bureau of Automotive Repair and the Orange County District Attorney regarding business practices at EZ Lube.
There’s always the risk whenever a private company accepts investment capital that the investment “partners” (in this case, it’s reported that BRS owned up to 90 percent of EZ Lube) will become dissatisfied with the company’s direction and make drastic changes. That seems to be the case here. More later.