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Around the Industry - October 2012

September 28, 2012
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Water recycling to be required in new CA washes

SACRAMENTO, CA — The bill that will require new carwashes to use at least 60 percent recycled water passed here.

Assembly Bill 2230 has been sent to the governor for signature. It will require carwash facilities permitted and constructed after Jan. 1, 2014 to include a water recycling system.

An amended version of the bill passed the Senate on August 20 and the Assembly two days later. The main sponsor of the bill, Assemblyman Mike Gatto, said water recycling technology has advanced so that there is little difference between the recycled water and water from the tap.

“Car washes, by their very nature, can play an important role too,” Gatto wrote in a letter. “They can use the same water again and again. Filtration technology can remove the dirt and detergents and turn it into water that is just fine for rinsing or washing a car.”

Free washes to celebrate 55 years of business

SEATTLE — Brown Bear Car Washes offered customers 12 hours of free washing to mark 55 years in business.

The automated tunnel carwashes in the Puget Sound area gave away free “Bear Essential” washes from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on August 23.

Vic Odermat, Brown Bear’s founder and owner, told the press that it’s a fitting way to thank their customers.

Brown Bear currently owns and operates 41 carwashes in Washington. They also operate gas stations and c-stores.

Water restrictions prevent charity carwashes

HENRIETTA, TX — Stage 3 of a drought emergency contingency plan was enacted here when water levels dropped below 46 percent at a nearby lake.

New restrictions were an attempt to reduce daily water demand between 10 and 15 percent. Under the new restrictions, charity carwashes are prohibited, and driveway washes can only be performed on certain days.

According to the guidelines, cars can be washed on outdoor water use days only, and they must be done with a hand-held bucket and a hose equipped with a shutoff nozzle for quick rinses.

The restriction does not apply to the washing of vehicles or mobile equipment when it is done at a commercial carwash or service station.

The restrictions also limit the use of sprinkler systems and the refilling of swimming pools and Jacuzzis. Violators will be issued a warning the first time and a citation on the second offense.

AUTOBELL® awards 2012 academic scholarships

CHARLOTTE, NC ― Autobell Car Wash Inc., the conveyor chain with 63 locations in North and South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia, recently gave away $95,000 in scholarships to 121 employees, a press release reported.

The press release said the recipients can use the money towards the college or university of their choice.

Since it started, the Autobell Scholarship Program has given out over $500,000 in academic funds.

The annual program rewards high school seniors employed by Autobell. Candidates must fill out an application and submit references, an acceptance letter and an essay which discusses the "educational aspect of their employment experience," the press release noted.

City bans all carwashing as employees look for other work

DECATUR, IL — After water restrictions here banned all carwashing in the city, 11 carwash employees at one business were out of work.

The city enacted strict water restrictions last week that closed all commercial carwashes. Officials said the lake the city relies on is getting too low, and the restrictions are essential for conservation.

Dawn Grandon, an assistant manager at a carwash, said the closure means a job search or unemployment for her and 10 other employees.

The restrictions also ban at-home carwashing, lawn watering and the filling of swimming pools.

Wash gives free washes to firefighters during August

DRAPER, UT ― Platinum Car Wash and Detail is gave away free washes to United Fire Authority and Salt Lake Valley Metro Fire Agency employees during the entire month of August in honor of their 10-year anniversary.

Owners Susan and Gary Hadfield, who have three locations in total, are giving out free basic exterior carwashes.

"Platinum Car Wash knows that all of the fire fighters take great care of our community and we want to show them the same courtesy," a press release stated.

The press release stated that the chain is also about to do its one millionth wash any day now.

Gary stated in the press release, “We have worked extremely hard for the last 10 years to ensure that people in the community and our employees are happy with how they are treated here at Platinum, between our 3 locations we are close to serving our millionth customer and every time we say that we smile.”

Mike’s Carwash donates $92,300 to charity

INDIANAPOLIS — The Mike’s Carwash chain, with the help of customers in Indiana and Ohio, will donate $92,300 to Big Brothers Big Sisters, according to a press release.

The money was raised during the Mike’s Mentors Kids fundraiser. Half of the proceeds from every Works wash bought on August 18 were donated to the charity.

Mike’s donations will help offset the cost of programming for one-to-one youth mentoring in the communities where the fundraiser was held.

“We couldn’t be more proud to partner with such an outstanding organization, and happy to support their mission to bring positive change to children facing adversity.  We’re very grateful to our customers who helped make it happen,” Mike’s CEO Bill Dahm stated in the release.

Fundraiser held for seriously injured detailer

FALLSTON, MD — Keith Mathews suffered serious injuries when more than 3,500 lbs. of debris fell on him inside his detail shop during a storm.

Mathews is still recovering from the accident both physically and financially. His detail shop was completely demolished, and he has racked up large bills for surgery and rehabilitation costs.

To help Mathews raise money, his family and friends held a carwash fundraiser last weekend at the location where his shop was previously located.

Also, donations could be made to his recovery fund at any BBT Bank location, and can also be emailed for more details.

App-driven mobile service adding new market

SAN DIEGO — The Cherry mobile carwash service announced it was expanding here after months of strong demand in San Francisco and its surrounding cities, according to a press release.

The August 28 release stated that Cherry’s service-on-demand model has proven successful, and wash numbers have doubled every month in San Francisco. In preparation of expansion, the company has built a strong supply chain and strengthened its logistic processes.

“Customers in the Bay Area love Cherry because we provide a quality service and also save them 60 minutes of time by not having to go to the car wash,” Cherry Co-founder and CEO Travis VanderZanden stated in the release. “San Diego is an even better market for us because of the beautiful weather.”

San Diego was chosen as the next Cherry service area due to the ideal qualities and conditions for on-demand carwashing. The county also represents a substantial potential market with roughly 1 million cars for Cherry to service.

As PC&D previously reported, Cherry is a smartphone app that allows a user to order a carwash at any location. The app uses geotagging to mark a car’s location, and a fee is then charged through the app.

Vehicle crashes through Texas carwash

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX ― A vehicle drove into the Island Car Wash here and ended up causing about $175,000 in damages inside the tunnel.

Apparently the vehicle drove into the tunnel and somehow damaged the machinery. The carwash will be closed for at least a month.

Police, who have not located the driver, are not sure if the damage was intentional or accidental. Either way, the driver, once found, could be charged with a Class-C misdemeanor.

CA wash sued by Department of Labor

SANTA ANA, CA — A carwash company here is being sued by the U.S. Department of Labor for allegedly failing to properly pay 81 employees for the hours they worked.

The suit was filed against Z&H Happy Hands Corp, and it claims the business changed electronic time clock data to register fewer hours. The lawsuit said the company paid workers less than half the federal minimum wage and employees were not paid all the overtime they were due.

Happy Hand’s owners Zohrab Kalaydjian and Hovsep Kalaydjian did not respond when contacted for a comment by the press.

This newest lawsuit comes as authorities have tried to clean up practices in carwashes that exploit workers. As PC&D previously reported, the carwash unionization push in California has led to a few carwashes signing union agreements as well as multiple labor lawsuits.