Auto-Lab Inks Master Franchise Agreement with Experienced Texas Investors
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Auto-Lab Inks Master Franchise Agreement with Experienced Texas Investors

HOUSTON - Sept. 17, 2013 // PRNewswire // - The Houston-based Communitas Auto Group LLC, a recently formed Texas corporation, has purchased the rights to become the exclusive master franchisee for Auto-Lab Complete Car Care Centers for the State of Texas. The franchise business will operate under the Auto-Lab of Texas label and be responsible for all locations that are opened in the State. The group intends to create a significant presence in Texas by developing several company-owned locations as well as supporting a number of independent franchisees. This partnership serves as Auto-Lab's entrance into the attractive Texas automotive repair market.

"The Texas market has strong and growing demand for high-level, diagnostic auto repair services," says Frank Brandenberg, CEO of Auto-Lab, LLC based in Farmington Hills, Michigan with over 30 existing locations. "We are delighted to partner with such an innovative, entrepreneurial group that is led by an impressive team of seasoned professionals."

The Communitas Auto Group ("CAG") team is primarily led by experienced Houston businessman, Mike Humphrey. With an MBA from Harvard Business School, Mike is also a managing partner in Tanglewood Investments, a private equity firm that has substantially sold all of its operating companies built through 21 separate acquisitions over the past 17 years. Mike has a history of building successful companies in multiple industries, with particular strength in building teams that can guide companies through rapid, profitable growth.

"There are two things that I look for in new business opportunities. The first is a good concept. But more importantly, I look for strong leaders. With Auto-Lab and Frank Brandenburg, I have found both," says Mr. Humphrey. "With the advancing technology of cars and trucks, Auto-Lab's specific focus on diagnostics is a point of clear distinction in the auto repair industry. We are excited to bring this concept to Texas."

CAG will also be supported by Dr. Ben Litalien, CFE, the Founder & Principal of the specialized consulting practice, Franchise Well. Litalien spent the past two years guiding the CAG team through the franchise search and selection process, including negotiating the master franchise agreement with Auto-Lab. Previously, Litalien spent more than 20 years developing several successful franchised businesses, including Exxon Mobil's On the Run markets.

According to Litalien: "The segment in franchising that is experiencing the most growth is in area development. Acquiring the rights for an entire State is significant for the developer and the franchise company, and it allows for strategic growth and better economics across the board."

As the master franchisee for Texas, CAG will build and operate general auto repair shops under the Auto-Lab brand and will also provide support to franchises sold anywhere in Texas. Immediate plans call for opening two locations within the first year, likely both within the Houston area. Once these stores are established, CAG will then look to expand to other major metro markets in Texas.

About Communitas Auto Group

Communitas Auto Group is a recently formed Texas corporation based in Houston, Texas. The company is affiliated with PEP, a Houston-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to unlock the human potential in formerly incarcerated men through entrepreneurial passion, education and mentoring ( While the prospect of employing qualified PEP graduates is intriguing, no changes to the Auto-Lab concept are contemplated. "The goal for Communitas Auto Group is to be the best franchisee in the Auto-Lab system", stated Humphrey, "and through that commitment we fully expect to field the strongest team possible at each location, including some of our PEP graduates." The first location is scheduled to open in Houston within a year.

About Auto-Lab

Auto-Lab, in operation since 1989, is a growing auto repair franchise business with an emphasis on being the complete car care alternative to the dealer. The company currently has over 30 franchised and corporate locations in Michigan, Indiana, Iowa and Florida. Each repair comes complete with a 12 month/ 12,000 mile warranty on all parts and labor. This partnership with Communitas Auto Group provides for the company's entrance into the attractive Texas automotive repair market. You can learn more about the company at


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