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Business Operations

Tides of Carwashing

October 11, 2010
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The National Association of Convenience Stores recently held its annual show and expo this October 4–7 in Chicago. The convention featured more than 1,200 exhibitors in six product areas (candy and snacks; facility development and store operations; foodservice; merchandise; and petroleum equipment and technology).

It should come as no surprise that among the exhibitors present was a decent representation of the carwash industry. Why? Well, c-stores and carwashes have been a popular combo for over two decades and increasingly relevant in today’s competitive marketplace. In 2007, the International Carwash Association said its data indicated that roughly 50 percent of c-store/petroleum marketers currently operate a carwash facility and that same year, Convenience Store/Petroleum magazine published a report which indicated carwashes were the second most popular profit center to add to a c-store.

Over 20 percent of readers responding to the CSP survey said they intended to add a carwash to their facility in 2007; but is the feeling mutual? How do operators who consider themselves primarily in the carwash industry feel about c-stores and c-store/carwash combos? PC&D recently surveyed its readership to find out.

There were 180 responses to our November poll, and the majority seemed to think that operating the two businesses together was a real customer pleaser. But most operators seemed to think c-store carwashes were of a lower quality. Nearly 95 percent of those who indicated a difference in customer perception said c-store carwashes had a negative connotation with the customer.

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