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News from the Industry

August 09, 2011
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MA carwasher receives EPA award

The owner of Waves Car Wash, Adam Korngold, who works out of West Roxbury, MA, was recently honored by the New England Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Korngold, the current vice president of the New England Carwash Association, was a guest of honor at a special ceremony at Faneuil Hall in Boston on May 11.

Waves Car Wash was nominated by a customer and won the award for its “significant contributions toward preserving and protecting our natural resources.” Korngold was applauded for his environmental initiatives which include the wash’s installation of a $220,000 PV system, and for its use of energy efficient motors tied to Variable Frequency Drives, its LED lights and its water reclamation system.

Mr. Clean eyes East Coast expansion

Procter & Gamble (P&G) is apparently looking to expand their line of Mr. Clean carwashes and set up some locations in Baltimore. P&G is allegedly working with KLNB Retail to scout out locations, especially ones near Whole Food stores, Target and Home Depot.

P&G would not comment on this news. However, according to KLNB, the carwashes are looking for areas with at least 250,000 people and locations with 1 to 1.3 acres of land available.

Currently, Mr. Clean has locations in Atlanta, Cincinnati and Round Rock, TX.

NASCAR announces big carwash plans

NASCAR-themed carwashes will soon be popping up in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan. The owners of the Chicago-based Spotless Express and Sparkles (SES) carwashes reached an agreement to rebrand five of their existing locations into NASCAR washes.

“Steve Timmer and Roger Dorio, along with their sons, are the geniuses behind the SES carwash company; they are very experienced carwash guys,” said Dan Dyer, Chairman and CEO of NASCAR Car Wash Company. “They are terrific operators and they see the power of the NASCAR brand. We are thrilled to have them join us as our operating marketing partners in this highly visible Midwestern market. We have full confidence that these guys will help us grow to 100 or more carwashes under the NASCAR flag over the next five to six years.”

The wheels for the agreement were set in motion at last year’s Car Care World Expo. “Steve and Roger were walking past our humble little booth with their sons at the [CCWE] last year,” Dyer stated. “We had just signed our deal with NASCAR seven days prior to the show. We barely had a banner and business cards.”

According to a press release, Steve Timmer is just as excited about the new deal. “Our families and partnerships are excited to be joining NASCAR Car Wash’s quality organization and championship team. We have built a relationship that has a great deal in common. We are driven, passionate about our business; we believe in quality, facilities, employees, products, service, image and value. We understand the importance of ‘customer.’”

Woman suing carwash for chemical burns

A woman in Charleston, WV, is suing a carwash for chemical burns and injuries after purchasing an air freshener service for her car. The plaintiff is suing for compensatory and punitive damages after she took her car to the Mountaineer Pride Car Wash in late April. There, she was encouraged by an employee to have air freshener sprayed inside the vehicle, and she agreed to purchase the service.

The plaintiff noticed a strong chemical odor in her car after the wash but thought it would soon dissipate. She drove home with her windows down in an attempt to air out the vehicle, but by the time she arrived home she could barely breathe and had difficulty walking.

After the drive home, the plaintiff claims she began vomiting violently and experienced disorientation and confusion. She was taken to the emergency room and was diagnosed with a chemical burn to her mouth, throat and lungs. She said she did not enter the car again until over two weeks later, and she still had to get out of the vehicle after just a few minutes when she once again had difficulty breathing, felt faint and became ill. That day she was diagnosed as having respiratory irritation from exposure to chemical fumes.

The plaintiff claims in the suit that the carwash sprayed chemical into the car instead of air freshener, and she finally had to rent a car to use while her car was repaired.

Carwash celebrates 30-year anniversary

The Splash Car Wash chain of Stamford, CT, is celebrating its 30-year anniversary. Mark Curtis and Chris Fisher, who now own 17 carwashes throughout Connecticut, and employ over 500 people, opened their first location in Greenwich, CT, in May 1981.

The chain celebrated the major milestone with six weeks of promotions and specials and a lifetime of free carwashes for six lucky customers.

CARSTAR sets new carwash world record

CARSTAR’s location in Milford, OH, led the chain in setting a new Guinness World Record for the largest carwash in history. The 12 Cincinnati-area CARSTAR stores participated, as did 140 other locations across the United States and Canada, in the North American attempt to break the Guinness World Record. CARSTAR ended up breaking its own record, set in 2009 for “World’s Largest Car Wash – Multiple Venues,” by washing 4,918 cars in eight hours.

CARSTAR is North America’s largest chain of collision repair centers, and they donated 100 percent of the ticket sales to the Make-A-Wish Foundation in the United States and Cystic Fibrosis in Canada, as well as local charities. More than $67,000 was raised through the event.

“Over the first three years, the Soaps It Up! Car Wash has been able to unite the CARSTAR family across North America to help children in need,” David Byers, CEO of CARSTAR, said in a statement to the press. “With today’s new Guinness World Record, we are excited to continue the tradition of making the ‘Wash for a Wish’ Soaps It Up! Car Wash the biggest and best ever. We are thrilled to bring even more support for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America and cystic fibrosis in Canada through this great event.”

CARSTAR stores in Canada have been conducting the Soaps It Up! Car Wash for the past eight years, and this is the third time the program has been done in the United States.

“Office” star talks of her days as a carwash attendant

Jenna Fischer, who plays Pam on the hit NBC show “The Office,” was recently part of a comedic actress roundtable discussion which also included “Parks and Recreation” star Amy Poehler and “Glee” star Lea Michele. The roundtable discussion was featured on The Hollywood Reporter, and at one point, the talk turned to the actresses’ pre-stardom jobs. Fischer revealed she worked at a carwash for three years in Missouri before hitting it big on the small screen.

“It was my favorite job, I’ve ever had,” the actress said in a video clip.

Fischer said she really wanted to be the person who got to dry the cars because you could work out in the sun and take the tips. However, because she was smaller and female, she had the job of going inside the cars and spraying the insides of the windows. “After a year of doing that, I got to do the outside,” she said.

“The Office” star isn’t the first celebrity to reveal she worked at a carwash. Ellen DeGeneres; Bob Ritchie, a.k.a. Kid Rock; and director John Singleton also worked at carwashes before they were famous.

Super Wash raises thousands for food pantries

Super Wash announced in Morrison, IL that the carwash chain raised $42,550 for local food pantries. The money is from select Super Wash carwashes that hosted FoodRaisers in May to benefit local food pantries.

An average donation of $250 was made to each participating food pantry, and the money stayed in the local communities to benefit local families.

Bob Black, co-founder and CEO of Super Wash Inc., said, “So many really wonderful people and hard-working families are struggling right now through no fault of their own. I began my career as a high school biology teacher, so it is particularly hard for me to grasp how many kids are going hungry, especially during the summer when school is out. We are so pleased to be able to make a positive difference in some small way through our FoodRaiser.”

Founded in 1976, the Super Wash chain has 305 locations in 21 states.