Industry Newsline - October 2007

Industry Newsline


Car Wash Services & Equipment LLC of New England has announced the appointment of Chip Downey as sales manager. Downey has been in the car wash industry his entire life, starting with the operation of his family business and developing his interest in sales. The company further announced that Rob Hutchinson had joined its team. Originally from Missouri, Hutchinson has 17 years of experience as a contract installer for various distributors and manufacturers.


As a way to say “thank you” to area residents for 50 years of patronage, Seattle, WA-based Brown Bear offered free “Bear Essential” car washes to the public on Thursday, August 23 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at all 19 of the company’s automated tunnel wash locations in the Puget Sound area.

“This is an opportunity to show our appreciation to our customers for their loyal patronage over the last 50 years,” said Brown Bear owner Vic Odermat. “Cars and trucks may have changed dramatically over the past half century, but service to our customers has been our ongoing mission.”

According to Lance Odermat, Brown Bear said a free-car-wash “thank you” to 19,000 customers during the one-day celebration. “It created an enormous amount of goodwill and gave us the opportunity to solidify our position as a member of the community,” he said.

Brown Bear opened in Seattle in 1957 and now owns and operates car washes throughout the Puget Sound area and Spokane. The family-owned company, through its parent company, Car Wash Enterprises (CWE), owns and operates a total of 38 car washes in Washington State as well as a large network of gas stations and convenience stores.

Earlier this year, Vic Odermat was inducted into the “Car Wash Hall of Fame” at Car Care World Expo 2007, presented by the International Carwash Association.


North Little Rock, AR-based Drive Clean LLC, the parent company of the Boomerang Carwash chain, announced that the total number of cars washed at Boomerang Carwash since the first location opened surpassed the 2 million mark on Sunday, July 29. The company reached the earlier milestone of 1 million cars washed only a short nine months before. Boomerang Carwash has express tunnel car washes throughout Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Louisiana. The first facility opened in Oklahoma City in January 2005.

Boomerang Carwash is designed for people on the go — to get customers in and out quickly with a clean, spot-free car. The facilities use state-of-the-art, computer monitored, automated systems throughout the “ride-through” express tunnel during the three minute cleaning process. They also provide free self-serve vacuums.


Duxbury, MA-based VERC Enterprises ( celebrated the grand reopening of its Briteway Car Wash in Marshfield, MA on July 21, 2007 with an event to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Marshfield. Proceeds from car washes during the celebration, a total of $490, were donated to the Marshfield club.

The grand re-opening unveiled the “new” car wash, the result of a $1.4 million “top to bottom” renovation that features a new septic system, cloth tunnel, a “touch less” automatic start system and improved water recycling.


Investigators with California’s Economic and Employment Enforcement Coalition (EEEC) recently targeted businesses in the car wash industry that were operating illegally. The businesses visited were in Orange County.

The EEEC targeted businesses that avoid labor, tax, and licensing laws, safety and health regulations and carry no workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.

There were 19 inspections that resulted in 33 citations. The citations were issued for no workers’ compensation insurance, not being registered (a requirement for car washes in California since July 2006), improper payment of minimum wage and overtime, not providing itemized wage-deduction statements, and no work permit for minors.

The EEEC was formed in 2005 not only to enforce California’s labor laws but to also educate business owners and workers on those laws and regulations. For more information on the EEEC, visit on the web.


Econocraft Worldwide Mfg., Inc. ( of Bronx, NY has announced the appointment of Virginia-based Flagstop Carwash of Richmond as its exclusive distributor for the state of Virginia. Flagstop will be responsible for sales, service, and installation activities in the tunnel-wash and automobile dealership markets.

Bob Schrum, president of Flagstop Carwash and Quick Lube is a 26-year veteran of the car wash industry and a 33-year veteran in the land-development business. Jamie Nester is vice president of operations for Flagstop and is a 14-year veteran of the car care industry.

Flagstop’s newest Express Wash opened in May, features all Econocraft equipment, and has 17 “free” vacuums on an almost-one-acre site in Richmond, VA. Bob and Jaime can be reached at (804) 768-0090 or at, or


Mark VII Equipment Inc. (, the US subsidiary of WashTec AG of Germany, recently announced it has begun to directly sell and service Mark VII equipment in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.

“Following a management change at our former distributor, both parties decided not to renew their contract,” said Murray Kennedy, president and CEO at Mark VII. “After exploring all the options, we determined that the direct model was the best way to ensure a high level of service and support for our existing New England customers, while positioning the company for continued growth in the region.”

Todd Wood, Mark VII’s northeast regional manager, is relocating to New Hampshire to serve as general manager of the direct operation. Mark VII technicians have been deployed and are servicing the installed base. Customers in these states can call Mark VII customer service toll-free at (877) 627-5844 for assistance, parts sales, and service dispatch.


CarWash College™ recently announced that Gil Castro had been named the first recipient of its “Instructor of the Year” award. The award is named the Shawn R. Brown Award for Instructional Excellence in honor of the college’s popular and inspirational technical instructor who recently passed away. In addition to training over 260 CarWash College students, Castro’s background includes over 12 years of experience in car wash operations.

For more information about CarWash College courses and a schedule of class sessions, please visit on the web.


Car Care World Expo, presented by the International Carwash Association (ICA), has already reached new heights in terms of exhibiting companies planning to attend the 2008 event, April 7-10. According to the association, the number of exhibitors is 7 percent ahead of last year’s figure at the same point.

“Car Care World Expo has grown nearly 150 percent in the past 10 years,” says Mark Thorsby, executive director of the ICA. According to the Car Care World Expo 2007 attendee demographic survey, decision makers come to the show anticipating to spend more than $247,000 on car wash equipment and $129,000 on car wash supplies in the 12 months following the show.

For more information on exhibiting at Car Care World Expo 2008 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, visit or contact Scott Narug at (312) 673-5974.


Some 60 car washes teamed up on August 18 for a one-day fundraiser to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Connecticut. The Connecticut Carwash Association (CCA) spearheaded the event.

Thanks to the efforts of Kim Smith, director, external events for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Connecticut, Inc. and her community outreach coordinator, Meghan Lobdell, participating washes across the state were able to garner some additional volume and press coverage on event day, in addition to helping out some deserving kids.

“We were able to get participation and media coverage from radio, television and print from Greenwich to Tolland to Old Saybrook to Bridgeport to Hartford to Norwich to Stamford to Litchfield,” said Lobdell. It really was amazing how much we were able to accomplish our first year out. We are very thankful to all participating car wash operators and the CCA for their support and efforts.”

The one-day fundraiser is patterned after the successful WashUSA effort, which ran from 2001 through 2006 and raised more than $800,000 for Make-A-Wish. The 2008 effort in Connecticut is slated for Saturday, August 16 with a rain date of August 23. For more information about the Connecticut Carwash Association visit them at

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