Industry Newsline - March 2010

Industry Newsline

BAYWASH AND CARWASH COLLEGE PARTNERS

BayWash In-Bay Automatic Car Wash Systems, a division of SONNY’S Enterprises Inc., has partnered with the CarWash College to launch a new certification program that delivers hands-on training to accelerate operator knowledge and understanding of running a successful in-bay automatic car wash.

“The i5 & G2 Installation & Operations Training Program provides new operators all of the facts and tips they need to run their in-bay automatic system successfully,” states Robert Andre, president of CarWash College. “It also ensures that patrons visiting the wash will experience the consistent quality, convenience, and value that build customer loyalty.”

The BayWash training program will be offered to new BayWash operators with classes commencing in 2010 at the CarWash College facility in Tamarac, FL. Program information will be provided at regional tradeshows, and is available online at www.baywash.com or by calling (800) 327-8723.

ICA 2010 BOARD

The International Carwash Association has announced its 2010 board of directors. The association’s president for 2010 is Jeff Gheysens, owner of Sparkle Kleen Car Wash in New Jersey and board member since 2004.

New operator directors on the board are Bruce Arnett Jr., COO of Mr. Clean Carwash in Duluth, GA and Gary Dennis, managing member of Mammoth Holdings LLC dba Ultra Car Wash in Atlanta, GA.

New directors representing the vendor community are Mike Savignac, president of PDQ Manufacturing Inc. (a Dover Company) in De Pere, WI and Henry (Hank) Richard, president and CEO of Car Wash Technologies LP in Cranberry Township, PA.

Board of directors officers continuing their service in 2010 are John Pierce of Autowash Express in Knoxville, TN, operator vice president; Steve Barram of Integrated Services Inc. in Portland, OR, vendor vice president; Jerry Miller of Jerry’s Express Car Wash in Fort Worth, TX, treasurer; and Lisa Lyons of Buggy Bath Car Washes Inc. in San Diego, CA, immediate past president.

Operator directors continuing their service in 2010 and 2011 are Mark Curtis of Splash Car Wash in Stamford, CT; Al MacDonald of Canadian Tire Corporation in Toronto, ON; John Lai of Mister Car Wash in Tucson, AZ; and Scott Freund of Prowash Inc. in Union, NJ.

Vendor directors continuing their service in 2010 and 2011 are Russell Coleman of Jim Coleman Company in Houston, TX; Pamela Piro of Unitec Electronics in Elkridge, MD; and Murray Kennedy of Mark VII Equipment Inc. in Arvada, CO.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN LEADERS

The Rocky Mountain Car Wash Association (RMCA) has announced its slate of officers for 2010. They are: David Begin of White Water Rapid Wash in Colorado Springs, CO (president); Aaron Green of Kwik Car Wash in Parker and Littleton, CO (vice president); and Keith Taylor of Jazz Car Wash & Detailing in Littleton, CO (secretary/treasurer).

The RMCA serves as a resource for local and state agencies to better understand that professional car washing is the best steward of our water resources. The association provides networking opportunities for car wash operators, and educates the public and local utility providers about the environmental benefits of professional car washing.

To learn more about the Rocky Mountain Car Wash Association or to obtain a membership application, visit www.rmcwa.com or contact David Begin at David.Begin@RMCWA.com.

TREND: SHIFT TO FRICTION

Arvada, CO-based Mark VII Equipment Inc. (www.markvii.net), the US subsidiary of WashTec AG of Germany, experienced a major increase in friction car wash sales in 2009.

“Friction in-bay automatics represented about a third of our rollover sales in recent years,” said Murray Kennedy, CEO of Mark VII. “But in 2009, friction unit sales jumped to 51 percent.”

“There are four major factors driving this trend,” said Steve Robinson, director of marketing and product management for the company. “First is the popularity of sleeker designs compared to older, industrial-looking systems. Second is the demand for newer technology that significantly reduces water consumption. Third is the fact that friction machines require less chemicals, which combined with lower water consumption, reduces operating costs and makes the business greener. And finally, convenience store chains, which represent the lion’s share of in-bay automatic car washes, want to take advantage of friction’s lower operating costs and the excellent cleaning results they provide to their customers.”

“Touch-free car washing isn’t going away,” Kennedy cautioned, “both wash formats have their place, and we’re happy to see car wash operators more willing to give consumers a choice of the format that best suits their needs.”

TREND: MOVE TO FLEX

In a comparison between 2008 and 2009 car wash equipment sales, SONNY’S The Car Wash Factory’s (www.sonnysdirect.com) data indicate a significant shift toward the flex-service car wash model, which typically combines an express-exterior car wash and express-detailing service offerings on one property.

“There is no doubt that the express-exterior car wash model continues to dominate the market for new construction,” noted Paul Fazio, president of Tamarac, FL-based SONNY’S. “In 2009, express-exteriors made up 75 percent of all new tunnel systems shipped by SONNY’S. But the more interesting story develops when you take a look at the flex-serve model. Accounting for only 15 percent of tunnel shipments in 2008, flex-serves jumped to 20 percent of tunnel sales in 2009. To us, that shows that the car wash industry is continuing to evolve to meet the needs of a different marketplace for both the operators and the wash customers.”

“There will always be demand for the full-service wash,” contiuned Fazio, “but today’s car wash often needs to appeal to a broader customer base and be in better control of its labor costs to succeed. The flex-serve model allows the business to attract a larger audience with a value priced drive-thru exterior while meeting the demand of the full-serve customer by providing interior cleaning and express detailing services.”

The sales data further show a slight shift in express-exterior tunnel shipments to the flex-serve model.

According to Fazio, “We believed the shift would take place and have had a common practice of designing express-exterior layouts to easily convert to a flex-serve if so desired. There’s a definite push to increase the value of a property by adding multiple wash formats and services that can expand hours of operation and the consumer preferences served. That is a trend that I expect will gain momentum in 2010.”

PECO DISTRIBUTOR

PECO Carwash Systems, Auburn Hills, MI has announced the appointment of New England Car Wash Equipment as its exclusive equipment and replacement-parts distributor. The territory covered includes Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and New York.

Founded by Jeff Arimento, New England Car Wash Equipment has offices in Littleton, MA and Albany, NY.

TURTLE WAX EXITS WASHES

Turtle Wax has announced that it will divest itself of its car wash division, which, the company says, has been operated and managed by top-line employees ensuring what management believes to be a turn-key, winning business opportunity for potential buyers.

During the divestment process, the Turtle Wax car wash facilities will continue to operate as normal. Hours and services will remain the same and gift certificates will be honored, as will Turtle Wax club cards.

The Turtle Wax car wash division is made up of 12 facilities — nine in Chicago, and three in Kansas City.

QUICKTRIP GETS OUT, TOO

The Tulsa, OK-based QuikTrip convenience store chain has sold its three car washes to Zip’s Car Wash of Jonesboro, AR. According to a QuikTrip spokesperson, the company’s car wash experimentation fell short of expectations. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

One wash is located in Glenpool, OK and two more are in Wichita, KS. All three are adjacent to QuikTrip convenience stores. The car washes will operate independently of the stores.

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