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News from the industry

October 11, 2010
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Mace sells off more carwashes
Mace Security International, Inc., the manufacturer of surveillance and defense products and owner/operator of car and truck wash facilities, has closed two separate transactions to sell four of its Northeast locations and has signed a definitive purchase agreement to sell an exterior-only carwash in Philadelphia, and an exterior-only carwash in Moorsetown, NJ.

The Northeast washes (Bryn Mawr, Norristown, and Flourtown, PA and Cherry Hill, NJ) represent all of Mace’s full-serve carwashes in the sector. The company continues to own and operate exterior-only carwashes in its Northeast region.

The Philadelphia location sold for $475,000 and is expected to close during the first quarter of 2007. Its net book value of the operating assets was approximately $319,000.

The Moorsetown, NJ location was sold for $350,000 in cash. It’s net book value was approximately $346,000.

Company acquires 16 carwashes, climbs Top 50 list
Drive Clean Holding, an investment group, has acquired all 16 locations of carwash giant Arkansas Carwash Systems (ACS).

The carwashes, several of which began as Rapido Rabbit locations and were then re-branded to Boomerang Carwash, will continue to operate as Boomerang washes, but under the direction of Drive Clean.

ACS was founded in 1995, and is a developer of self-serve carwashes, a distributor of chemicals and equipment, and also the owner/operator of the Boomerang Carwash chain.

Since 2005, the company focus has been on the growth of Boomerang Carwash®. It has 16 express exterior facilities in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Louisiana, with additional sites currently under development.

Boomerang Carwash would have ranked 19th on the Professional Carwashing & Detailing® 2007 Top 50 list of conveyorized carwash chains.

Autobell opens 46th carwash
The opening of Autobell’s new carwash in North Carolina marks its 46th unit overall.

Autobell owner and CEO Chuck Howard said, “We’re going where the customers are to provide them convenience close to home or on their daily commute.”

Autobell operates full-service conveyor-operated car washes with 46 units in 23 North Carolina and four Virginia municipalities.

The company was founded in Charlotte in 1969 by the late Charles Howard, Chuck Howard’s father, and now employees approximately 1,200 people and washes over 2 million cars annually.

Mark VII announces management changes
Mark VII Equipment Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of WashTec AG of Germany, a global manufacturer of carwash equipment, has restructured its senior management team

The following promotions were made: Sandy Bass is now vice president of sales; Craig Campbell is now vice president of strategic business and product development and Ed Stellner is now vice president of service.

Late last year, Mark VII announced Murray Kennedy as its president and chief executive officer. The company is also renovating its U.S. factory to apply best practices learned at WashTec’s European facilities.

Earlier last year, WashTec said Mark VII’s revenue “continues to stabilize” under direction from its European parent.

Splash Car Wash opens 22nd location
Splash Car Wash, based in Stamford, CT, has opened its 22nd location in Brester, NY. It is the company’s fifth New York location.

The carwash, formerly known as Route 22 Car Wash, was a full-serve carwash with detailing. Splash renovated the site to convert it to a full-service hand wash with express detailing.

With 22 conveyorized locations, Splash is among the 10 largest conveyorized carwash chains in the nation.

The company operates a number of self-serve and in-bay automatic locations, as well as four oil change locations. The chain hopes to add more sites in the near future.

Australian carwashes have bleak future
A proposed ban on carwashing, except with recycled water in Melbourne, Australia would destroy the $500 million carwash industry here.

The ban provides no compensation for industries that suffer a loss of business due to water restrictions.

Stage 4 bans are expected to begin on May 1, which ban all outdoor watering — meaning cars can’t be washed except for windows, lights and mirrors.

“There are 200 small-business owners out there who could all go bankrupt,” Australian Car Wash Association spokeswoman Diane Ross said.

Watershed carwash owner Amanda Davenport said she and her husband Tony have invested $750,000 to make their carwash water-wise, but many other carwashes can’t afford the technology.