To print this article, click on the printer icon below. Then, use the print function in your browser.



Industry Newsline


Belanger Inc., based in Northville, MI., recently announced the appointment of two new sales-team members. Jim Siwik was appointed as a tunnel sales specialist and is based in Pittsburgh, PA. Siwik has over 20 years of automotive industry experience, most recently working as a
Brian White
direct area manager where he was instrumental in regional business growth with Ryko. Tom Herf was appointed sales specialist for portions of the Northwest territories. Herf's base of operation is Boise, ID. He has over 16 years of car wash industry experience.

Elkridge, MD-based Unitec Electronics has announced the appointment of Brian White as national sales manager for its distributor network. White has over 20 years of sales experience in the automotive aftermarket. He most recently was director of sales and marketing for a hydraulic manufacturer.


M.A.R.S. International has announced that the State of Texas has approved the M.A.R.S. International Training Institute as a state-recognized career school. The school offers training in auto appearance reconditioning services.

The certification application process took over three months to complete. During this process, state educators conducted a field visit to ensure that the training and facilities were correctly represented in the application. The first follow-up review and inspection will occur in 90 days, after which annual inspections will be completed every August to maintain the state certification.


Many operators and suppliers in the car care industry have either donated funds or made their facilities available for the donation of funds for Hurricane Katrina relief. Several shared information about their efforts:


On August 31 2005, CITGO Petroleum Corporation pledged a $1 million donation towards Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. The company's president and CEO, Félix Rodríguez, indicated that this donation had the full support of the company's parent organization, Venezuelan state oil corporation Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), as well as Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

The company is based in Houston, and is a refiner, transporter, and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals, refined waxes, asphalt and other industrial products.

Within a few days, Rodríguez announced the company had pledged an additional $1 million, bringing the total to $2 million. "CITGO employees are actively participating in relief efforts in those cities where the company has a presence and evacuees are being received," Rodriguez said. "We continue to monitor the situation and stand ready to help in every way we can." The additional funds will be used to help with relief efforts in cities such as Houston and Corpus Christi, Texas, and Lake Charles and Baton Rouge, LA, he noted.

Glas-Weld Systems Inc.

This Bend, OR-based company announced that it will be donating 20 percent of its glass and scratch repair kit sales over a 30-day period to relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina victims. The funds will be donated to the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Hurricane Disaster Fund, which directly benefits firefighters and their families who have been displaced from their homes.

"Firefighters and emergency services personnel provide such selfless action in times of national disaster that we felt this IAFF fund was a cause that could really make a difference," said Mike Boyle, president of Glas-Weld.

Delta Kits Inc.

Delta Kits of Eugene, OR pledged 5 percent of its September sales to the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort.

"By pledging five percent of our sales to the people devastated by Hurricane Katrina, we hope to make it easy for our customers to aid in the relief effort. We have a lot of customers and distributors in the area that have helped us grow over the years and this is a way to give a little bit back to those communities. I hope that many of our colleagues in the windshield repair industry will join us. Our industry may be small, but together we can make a big difference," says Jeff Higgins, vice president of the company.

Mister Car Wash

Tucson, AZ-based Car Wash Partners (d.b.a. Mister Car Wash) is supporting Katrina relief efforts by authorizing a special $100,000 matching gift for all employee, in-store-customer, and car wash industry company donations dollar-for-dollar up to a total of $100,000 for a 90-day period beginning September 15th and ending December 15th, 2005.

One hundred percent of all donations will go to the American Red Cross. "There is an overwhelming need that continues, and will continue for some time, for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. We're reaching out to our peers and suppliers to donate what they can," said Ron Peterson, CEO of Mister Car Wash. "Although many donations have already been made, we hope that our matching gift fund of up to $100,000 will spur those that have already contributed to do a little more, and those that haven't to do so now."

Many of the Mister Car Wash chain's Houston locations participated in the collection of goods for distribution to the Astrodome. "Literally busloads of items were dropped off at our locations by customers and other members of the Houston community. We are so happy to help with something that has so much meaning to those suffering because of Katrina," said Bill Smith, area manager for Houston.

If you are a member of the car wash industry (vendor, supplier, operator) and would like to participate in Mister Car Wash's matching gift fund, please contact Sarah Mendez, marketing director at (888) 803-5232 or by e-mail at For more information on the American Red Cross, please call (800) 797-8022 or e-mail

2,000,000 SERVED

Tom Mleczko of Travel USA Central congratulates Maxwell Primac (center) while Bob Witherell, VIOC general manager, looks on.

Buffalo Lube Associates L.P., operator of 16 Valvoline Instant Oil Change (VIOC) service centers in Erie and Niagara Counties, recently served its 2 millionth customer, and celebrated the achievement by presenting the lucky motorist with a round trip for two to Las Vegas.

On August 4, Maxwell Primac drove into the VIOC center at 2218 Sheridan Dr. in Tonawanda, NY to get his oil changed. Little did he realize he had just become the local franchisee's 2 millionth customer. During a brief ceremony on August 23, he was awarded the five-night, six-day trip for two to Las Vegas with accommodation at the Excalibur Resort and Casino. A small parade began at the VIOC facility and headed to Mr. Primac's home in Tonawanda, where he was presented with his prize.

Valvoline Instant Oil Change has been serving Erie and Niagara Counties since the first service center opened in Amherst, N.Y., in January 1988.


The Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, of Tower, MN has purchased a majority share of Powerain Systems Inc. Powerain designs, manufactures, markets, and services touch-free car wash equipment.

"This is a business with a good product that has been well received, excellent management, and a significant investment in research and development," said Tribal Chair Kevin Leecy. "The Bois Forte Reservation Tribal Council (RTC) members and our finance staff examined Powerain carefully and feel that we can make Powerain even more successful by stepping up marketing efforts and improving the distribution channel."

The company's traditional markets include convenience stores, quick lube sites, automobile dealers, and investor markets, as well as open Tribal and Government markets. Powerain's equipment package is supported by site planning programs, water treatment packages, and image enhancement tools. The manufacturer also has a widespread sales and service network to support its operator base.

AUTO LAUNDRY NEWS is published by EW Williams Publications Company
2125 Center Avenue, Suite 305, Fort Lee, NJ 07024-5898, USA Phone: 1-201- 592-7007 Fax: 1-201-592-7171