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Around the Industry - June 2013

May 23, 2013
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Wash to be featured on TLC program

DALLAS — On April 6, a production crew arrived at a Tommy Terrific's Carwash here and filmed an episode of "Best Funeral Ever," according to a press release.

The April 18 release stated that the series has been officially picked up by TLC, and the season opener will feature the Tommy Terrific's Carwash when it airs later this year.

The funeral service included a full choir, a preacher and a custom car-shaped casket on wheels. After the eulogy, the casket was sent through the carwash — water, soaps and all.

“I have to admit, this was a request I never expected!” said Tommy Terrific’s Carwash Owner Tom Miller in the press release. “Though the funeral service was unlike any I have attended, it was clear the family was pleased to celebrate the life of the deceased at the carwash, a place their loved one truly enjoyed spending time. In the end, we were honored to participate.”

The carwash remained opened for the majority of filming.

Good idea alert: Owner sells used chemical barrels

EDWARDSVILLE, IL — Rain Tunnel Express Car Wash General Manager Sarah Frank came up with an idea to make a few extra bucks for the carwash by selling the used 30- and 55-gallon chemical drums to people who can then reuse them as rain barrels or storage containers, the Edwardsville Intelligencer reported.

The April 8 story said the barrels store water soluble, acid-free and non-corrosive carwash soap. Once they have been rinsed out, they're ready to be reused.

Recently, a cemetery owner bought a few barrels and painted them and now they're used as trash cans.

The 30-gallon barrels are $5; and 55-gallon ones are $7.

Son takes over operation for ailing father

CULLMAN, AL — Brad Dunn took over for his father running VIP Mobile Auto Spa in October of 2011, the Cullman Times reported.

The April 15 story stated that Dunn's father had started the mobile operation in 2008, but he suffered a stroke and was no longer able to work. Dunn, an 18-year-old senior at Fairview High School at the time, stepped up and has done well.

VIP uses a van that is a full-service car care operation on wheels, the story noted. It includes electricity, carpet cleaners, brushes and 200 gallons of water. Dunn can clean several cars in one day.

The business serves personal and commercial customers, and there are also contracts with fleet clients. "We cover the entire county, but most of our business is within a five mile radius of downtown Cullman," Dunn said in the story.

Brad likes working outdoors, even when he has to deal with cooler weather. He wears coveralls when the weather is bad, and he said in the story, "it's all part of the job."

Detailer 'having too much fun' to retire

JACKSONVILLE, FL — After more than two decades in the military, Fred Smith retired and became a detailer and motorized bicycle salesman, Jacksonville.com reported.

The April 9 story stated that now Smith spends his days washing and detailing cars at an old gas station. His business, Auto Titivators, also offers motorized bicycles up for sale that are built by Jacque Brooks.

Smith retired from the armed forces in 1974, then worked for the Department of Labor in Chicago and for a defense contractor. After retiring from these positions, Smith had a lawn service and then opened the detail shop last August.

"I retired for 18 months, and I got bored," Smith said in the story. "I'm just too used to being busy."

The reporter asked if the vehicles that come in are extremely dirty. "Really just during bad pollen and love bug season," Smith replied. "People who come in here keep their cars clean. It’s an ego/appearance thing. But I see $5,000 rims on a rusted car. With most of the young fellas, it’s the bling and the noise."

City official: Go to commercial washes

TORONTO — As this city gets ready to celebrate the 3rd annual Clean Toronto Together Campaign, one city official is telling readers of The Toronto Observer to only wash cars at a commercial carwash.

The April 12 story quoted Lawson Oates, the director of business operations management for Toronto Water, who said, “The most beneficial way from an environmental standpoint to take this is to take your car to a commercial carwash facility to have it cleaned there....Then we can treat that water at our water treatment plants and manage those materials that are in there. If people do it on the side of the road or in their driveway the soap and water runs off in to the storm system that goes down to rivers and streams and Lake Ontario."

Barb Elliot, a professor of ecosystem management at Fleming College in Peterborough, Toronto, also told readers how at-home carwash is dangerous to the environment.

She said waterway bacteria works extra hard to deal with the soap and detergents, which uses up more oxygen affecting plants and fish.

 “Algae thrive on phosphorus, and that leads to these algae blooms,” Oates said in the story. "It actually turns the water green, because there’s so much algae … the fish and the ecosystem suffer and die, and it damages recreation use, and also can affect drinking water. In Lake Ontario, we have issues east of Toronto into the Durham Region on the waterfront there with algae blooms and so it’s important that everybody do their part.”

New owners take over Boomerang chain

LITTLE ROCK, AK — The Boomerang Carwash chain, which includes 29 express carwash locations, is now owned by the new company, BOOMERANG HOLDING, LLC, according to an emailed announcement.

The April 10 announcement stated the new company is headed by CEO James Burks. It is also overseen by a Board of Directors which includes five representatives. 

“We were able to achieve this structure by the in-kind contribution of franchisee and facility owners of the Boomerang Carwash locations,” Board Chairman John Bailey stated in the press release.  “Individual ownership equities in the various properties were all contributed for stock ownership in Boomerang Holding, LLC.”

The company said it plans to improve operations through new training programs and through new technologies and features.

Currently, the chain employs 150 employees and has locations in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

“Our focus at Boomerang Carwash will be providing the highest quality of carwash for an express tunnel operator and exceptional customer service at all times.  We will accomplish this through the continuous development of team members.”  Burks stated in the press release.  “We have been voted ‘Best of the Best’ in every market we serve and continue to receive recognition from various commerce groups in our territory."

Banquet awards business of the year to carwash

ALTAVISTA, VA — The Three Into One Community Project held its fourth annual Minority Business Banquet, and a carwash won business of the year, the Altavista Journal reported.

The April 4 story stated that the banquet was held at the YMCA in late March, and Super Bright carwash was recognized in front of 40 attendees.

The award was presented to Super Bright's owners, Milson and Gwen Woodruff. Milson thanked the community, family, friends and customers for supporting the car care business.

Super Bright has been in business for 20 years, the story noted.

Quick Quack racecar wins season opener

ROSEVILLE, CA — The Quick Quack Car Wash No. 5 Impala claimed victory at the season opener for the All American Speedway, RacingWest reported.

The April 12 story stated that driver Chris Scribner posted the fastest lap in qualifying. After starting off in the ninth spot, Scribner worked the car to first place.

After a few cautions, the car ended up side by side with the leader. Scribner managed to steal the top spot and was able to hold on to it until the end of the race.

Both Scribner and Quick Quack’s mascot, Quackals the duck, were on-hand for fan appreciation night at the speedway a week later. Fans could stop by for an autograph and a photo.

FL carwash goes above and beyond

PARKLAND, FL — The owners of Rising Tide Car Wash are hoping to provide a business model for others by doing their part to provide jobs for people with autism, a segment of the population that is heavily unemployed, the Sun Sentinel reported.

The April 3 story said the carwash is owned by John and Thomas D'Eri, a father and son team who know first hand about autism as John's other son Andrew is autistic.

They decided to try a carwash business because they knew people with autism are comfortable with repetitive tasks and with cleanliness.

Right now the carwash employes 32 people.

The D'Eris hope to set up a business model that will catch on nationally. They have partnered with Autism and carwash experts and have documented all of the work involved in setting up and running the carwash so that others can follow suit.

Cop suspended for refusing to wash her car

DETROIT — Police Officer Tiniki Gibbs has been suspended due to an incident in 2011 which involved her refusing to wash her patrol car, an MLIVE.com story said.

The April 11 story said Gibbs apparently came into work late, was assigned a dirty vehicle, and then refused to take it to the wash. She then is accused of leaving sick and throwing a pen at her superior and then posting negative comments on Facebook.

Commander John Serba said in the story, "They borrowed a vehicle from the 6th Precinct. This was the vehicle that they had available for her. All she had to do was take it to the carwash."

Gibbs didn't appreciate being asked and said to her superior, "I don't wash cars for a living." The police officer, who has been suspended for 12 days, denies saying that.

Gibbs also apparently posted a picture of the dirty patrol car on Facebook. Her attorney told the Detroit Police Commission that the car was in "extreme disrepair, and unsafe to drive in addition to being dirty."

The parties agreed to reduce the penalty to a 10-day suspension, which the commission agreed to.