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Big-rig seller Stoops to unload six-location dealership

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Indianapolis big-rig dealer Jeff Stoops is poised to sell his truck and trailer business to Truck Country, a top Freightliner dealer based in Dubuque, Iowa.

Truck Country parent McCoy Group has a purchase agreement with Stoops Freightliner-Quality Trailer to acquire all six of its dealership locations in Indiana and Ohio on or about July 1, said Ann Miller, marketing director for McCoy Group. Truck Country has 12 locations in Iowa and Wisconsin.

Stoops will stay with the company as president of Stoops Freightliner to ease the transition, Miller said. McCoy Group will operate Stoops Freightliner as a division and keep its name and all employees.

The pending deal with Truck Country was announced within the companies Thursday. Stoops did not return messages seeking comment Thursday and Friday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

A former teacher and trucking entrepreneur, Stoops acquired the Freightliner dealership in 1988 and by 2013 had grown it into a $323.1 million business with 563 employees, according to a forthcoming IBJ list of the state's largest private companies.

According to its website, Stoops Freightliner specializes in truck and trailer sales, heavy-duty parts and service, truck accessories, and collision repair for commercial trucks.

Stoops’ first business, Stoops Express, in 1981 ranked at the top of Inc. magazine’s first list of fastest-growing companies. Stoops was 34 years old at the time.

He sold the Daleville-based trucking company in 1986 to Burlington Northern Railroad and then bought the Freightliner dealership after a brief retirement.

The dealership celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. At the time, Stoops said he employed 65 technicians in Indianapolis and 140 mechanics throughout the system.

Truck sales suffered along with the trucking industry during the recession, which killed many driver-owned businesses, Miller said. With the economy rebounding, truck sales have also improved, she said. 

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