"It won't be too long that the population of Texas … achieves Canada's population" of about 38 million, Kutschinski said.
Texas is home to two of North America's 10 largest metropolitan areas — Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston — as well as some of its fastest-growing big cities.
According to the Census Bureau, San Antonio's population grew by 221,092 people to more than 1.54 million between April 2010 and July 2019, the third-largest increase among U.S. cities. Austin, the state's capital, grew by 177,079 residents to nearly 979,000 during that same period, making it the nation's fifth-fastest-growing city. Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth also experienced top-10 growth.
Steele's new Texas stores are in Lockhart and Gonzales, small cities between Austin and San Antonio.
"Texas is one of the fastest-growing states in the U.S.," Day said in December.
"And the San Antonio and Austin corridor is growing at an even faster rate."
Farid Ahmad, CEO of Dealer Solutions Mergers and Acquisitions, said Texas was among the states most appealing to Canadian dealers eying expansion south of the border, in addition to Florida, New York, Colorado and California.
"The climate is much more agreeable" in such states, Ahmad said. Dealers "can combine [an acquisition] with vacation homes," he said, "and typically there's very high volume in the large markets."
Steele CEO Rob Steele "has had a home in the area of Austin for several years," Day said.
For Kutschinski, similarities between Texas and Alberta, as well as the state's low tax rates, drew Foundation Automotive.
"I like the Houston area in particular because it really mirrors Calgary in a sense. Good, wholesome, hardworking people."
Greg Layson contributed to this report.