Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

HEAVY-DUTY BUSINESS Dealership Owner Eyes Next Step for Nextran Awards

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

HEAVY-DUTY BUSINESS Dealership Owner Eyes Next Step for Nextran Awards

Article excerpt

When Jon Pritchett started a chain of heavy-duty truck dealerships seven years ago, his goal was to bring in a total of $200 million in revenue. By the end of this year, he will have done that and more.

Now he's determined to expand Lake City-based Nextran Corp. even more, which may include buying or building dealerships outside the Sunshine State. But Pritchett knows he needs to watch his step.

"I want to grow at a profitable growth [level], not just to grow bigger," Pritchett said. He'd like revenue to double in the next five to seven years.

"We haven't established our next benchmark," he said. "We're a bit ahead of schedule."

As president and chief executive of Nextran, Pritchett owns eight dealerships in seven Florida cities, including Jacksonville. Seven of the dealerships sell Mack trucks; one of the two Tampa dealerships sells Volvo trucks.

The dealerships sell and repair heavy trucks, including construction trucks, highway trucks and fuel trucks. They also sell parts. Pritchett said a network allows truck owners to go to any of the Nextran dealerships and be serviced by people who have prior knowledge of their trucks.

"Everything is focused on being at the next level of dealership," he said. "We do want to set ourselves apart from the industry."

The company changed its name to Nextran from Pritchett Investment Group this year, but the dealerships in Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa will continue to use their original names.

Nextran is the largest network of heavy duty truck dealerships in Florida, Pritchett said. "We're not the first to create a network of one dealership organization, but we would be the largest organization in Florida," he said.

When the company opened in 1992, Pritchett had about 70 employees; today the company has more than 240 workers, he said.

"We want to offer everything to the transportation industry," he said, including serving the company's international customers. Nextran will deliver about 220 trucks outside the United States this year, including to South America and the Caribbean.

And as more dealerships become part of a chain, Pritchett said he wants Nextran to be a "mega dealer. …

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