In a partnership that may end up being about more than just supplying film, Tint World and XPEL have inked a deal that makes the San Antonio-based film brand the primary supplier to the national franchise chain.

The move provides XPEL with a major buyer on one end and everything “plus the kitchen sink,” on the other end, says Tint World CEO Charles Bonfiglio.

Tint World and XPEL have agreed that XPEL will become the franchise’s primary film supplier.

That’s what it took to move the franchisor from a 15-year partnership with its former main supplier, Bonfiglio says. Previously, XPEL was the franchise’s secondary supplier.

XPEL’s vice president of revenue Tony Rimas says the partnership is substantial for the publicly- traded company.

“At the end of the day, we like to have conversations with companies to see if a customer could be an acquisition target or a partnership,” Rimas says. “The future of Tint World is pretty exciting to us.”

With more than 90 locations nationwide and new ones opening frequently, Bonfiglio says the Tint World brand is “at an inflection point in our brand, growing very well, and XPEL has made a good name for itself outside of and inside of the industry.”

Will adding a buyer of this magnitude have ripple effects across XPEL’s customer lead times? Not likely at all, Rimas says.

“It’s going to be a lift that we can make easily,” he says. “We have plenty of inventory.”

The deal also doesn’t preclude XPEL from working with any other automotive tint franchises.

Acquisition In Waiting? 

Bonfiglio founded Tint World more than 42 years ago. XPEL, not shy about acquiring some of its major customers (including franchises).

“The potential or even the question of them investing in us or acquiring us was never brought up until after the deal was signed,” he says. “I got a call and they said—when you’re ready, we’d be happy to invest in or buy you—we love your brand and we want to grow with you. If there’s an opportunity, please let us know first.”

For now, the partnership means supplying automotive and paint protection film as well as a potential for XPEL to open franchises in other countries, though nothing is planned yet.

“XPEL does have a franchise in Canada called Protex Canada,” notes Erik Cummins, XPEL’s senior director of revenue who worked on the deal along with Rimas and Chris Hardy, senior director of sales. “There are no immediate plans to get into franchising in other areas but we have a lot of big ideas.”

Jonathan Norman, chief investment officer at Tint World handled negotiations from Tint World’s side along with Bonfiglio, who is bullish on the partnership.

“I wanted a vendor to think of us not just as a supplier but a strategic partner that can leverage various parts of our brand,” he says. “They have a lot of sales teams that are willing to help us grow in other verticals: marine, commercial, etc.”

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