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Industry Watch

May 26, 2014
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Ira Feinberg


By Debra Gorgos, Editor

The carwashing and detailing industries suffered a great loss with the passing of Ira Feinberg, a.k.a. The Dean of Clean, who passed away on April 21, 2014, after a long and courageous battle with cancer.

Author of the book, "Make Your Fortune Washing Cars," and CEO of CarWash World, Inc., Ira was also a husband, father and grandfather, leaving behind his wife Yaffa of 50 years, his children Juliette and Bryan, their spouses Anat and Larry, and his four grandchildren, Aiden, Danielle, Jordyn and Zachary. At the time of his passing, a statement from his family read: Words can't express our sense of loss.....but love will see us through. He was an extraordinary man who lived every day to its fullest.

“Ira loved the business and loved the operators he helped over the years,” stated his daughter Juliette, who helms “His commitment to quality and innovation helped drive our industry’s growth.”

Bryan, who serves as national marketing director of CarWash World, told Professional Carwashing & Detailing, “I think my father was a true inspiration to the many operators around the world that had the pleasure of working with him over the years. He will surely be missed.”

Ira, whose invincible passion for carwashing spanned 45 years, was able to work with hundreds of carwashes worldwide. Throughout his years as a carwasher, he washed millions of cars and was one of the first innovators of express polishing. And, as a person, he was known for his fervor and willingness to help others.

In his book, “Make Your Fortune Washing Cars,” Ira wrote in his preface, “If one’s life is to have meaning and purpose it would translate into, ‘What did you leave behind for someone else to enjoy and aid in their conquest in finding their life’s meaning and pleasure?’ After washing cars, and I literally mean washing cars with two hands, for over thirty five years, I yearned to share with others my experiences, and what I had learned in order to aid anyone daring enough to purchase, build or own a car wash or detail shop.”

Along with his involvement in the carwashing and detailing industries, Ira was also a filmmaker, and in 2008 he produced and directed the award-winning documentary, “My Brothers Keeper,” as a tribute to the men and woman of the Haganah, a Jewish pre-independence military organization. Ira, who was born in Brooklyn, passionately spoke of United Jewish Appeal and Israel Bonds. According to his obituary, “Ira was the youngest American volunteers to join the Palmach via the Jewish Underground’s New York Office and demanded his right to join the liberation of Eretz Yisrael. Traveling to Europe, Ira was smuggled into a DP camp in Marseilles France and took his place amongst the thousands in line for an entry to Palestine. Declaring his Allegiance to the Haganah in an un-ceremonial briefing at the clandestine transit camp, a small group of soon-to-be soldiers in Israel’s first Army boarded crowded immigrant ships leaving from Marseilles. After the war and Israel's defiant victory of Independence, and for 50 years thereafter, Ira became a leading speaker for the United Jewish Appeal and Israel Bonds.”


Association News

The Car Wash Show™ news and awards

By Joe J. Napoli, Assistant Editor

CHICAGO — Prior to the keynote address by Daymond John and Robert Herjavec of the hit show “Shark Tank,” CEO of the International Carwash Association (ICA), Eric Wulf, addressed the audience at McCormick Place during the 2014 Car Wash Show™ in Chicago.

Wulf said that 2013 marked the fourth year of membership growth for the ICA. The WaterSavers® program has also experienced a greatly increased membership, according to Wulf, and is a way for washes to promote being environmentally friendly.

The new partnership with the Western Carwash Association (WCA), which will run its last show in 2014, will lead to the WCA being able to focus more closely on its local members, said Wulf.

The emergence of the European wash market has made a show in Europe a way to enhance relationships with the U.S. carwash business. Wulf said it was a, “new way to build a brand and develop a market.”

He also emphasized that the ICA, “hasn’t forgotten who we are,” and that it’s a group for its members. Wulf talked about how the ICA board is made up of a diverse group of those who represent all facets of the market.

ICA President Gary Dennis took the stage, and gave two awards for integral members of the wash business. The “Inspiration Award” was given to Brain Campbell, who was flown to the show at the expense of those in the carwash business. Campbell was described as the "biggest fan” of carwashes. His enthusiasm immediately overtook the room as he accepted the award with a big smile, and told the audience “Thank you so much, I love carwashes!”

Campbell was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome shortly after being born and doctors only gave him 10 years to live. But, Campbell defied the odds. When he was young, he became fascinated with carwashes; the movements and colors put a smile on his face, according to an ICA blog. Since 1993, a group of carwash owners has been paying for his family to travel to The Car Wash Show™.

And starting in 2015, the ICA will honor Campbell by presenting one exhibiting company with the “Brian Campbell People’s Choice Booth Award.”

The granddaughter of Leo J. Rousseau, Cynthia Watson, accepted the Carwash Hall of Fame award on his behalf. Rousseau was a founding owner of the first real production line carwash. He also developed the “Minit Man” system, which was a station-to-station wash system, which revolutionized the business before World War II.

Watson said that her grandfather would have loved to get the chance to experience the modern carwash business. “To see the evolution of the industry would have been awe-inspiring” to him, she said.

CCA Annual Mini Expo offers attendees tips to improve sales techniques

CROMWELL, Conn. — The Connecticut Carwash Association (CCA) held its 24th Annual Mini Expo & Sales Seminar on April 23, according to a press release.

Simoniz USA’s Barry Smith, a sales representative with the company, gave “30 attendees the tools they need to improve their selling techniques,” according to the release.

The event included 100 attendees and 22 exhibitors, who were provided with an Italian buffet dinner.

“My thanks to all the vendors and operators who support our association and attended this event,” said CCA President Noah Levine. “It’s a great event and opportunity to see what is new out there, while catching up with fellow operators. And this year’s addition of a sales seminar was a great way to provide some education to the mix.”

The next CCA Mini Expo will take place on March 25, 2015.

Company News

ERC expanding warehouse to increase variety of products

LYNN, Mass. — In an effort to improve the company’s ability to increase inventory and variety of products, ERC Wiping Products is expanding its warehouse, according to a press release.

ERC has been in business for 90 years, and provides wiping products to over 30 industries, the release notes.

The expansion of the 85,000-square-foot warehouse will allow ERC the “ability to stock an even larger variety of terry, microfiber and huck towels in a wide selection of color, size and thickness,” the press release stated.

Unitec appoints vice president of operations for leadership team

ELKRIDGE, Md. — As the new vice president of the leadership team at Unitec, Tom Furey will be responsible for manufacturing, engineering and customer service activities, according to a press release.

Furey is excited to be a part of a team which possesses great experience and a solid reputation. However, Furey also has his eyes set on the future, and evolution of the business. “My professional career has been built around product and process innovation, and Unitec's culture and strategy align perfectly with my personal business philosophies,” he stated in the press release.

Unitec is extremely pleased to have Furey joining the company, said Pam Piro, the president and CEO. "Tom's abilities and focus aligns flawlessly with Unitec's greater emphasis on enhancing the customer experience through product innovation and customer service," she stated in the press release.

Furey most recently worked as the president of the Industrial Business Unit at Standard Register. He holds three master’s degrees in both business and engineering, and is a veteran of the first Gulf War.     

MacNeil issues patent for energy saving, eco-friendly air valve

BARRIE, Canada — There are many benefits to the new PowerLock air valve by MacNeil Wash Systems, including it reducing noise, saving on energy costs and being eco-friendly, according to a press release.

The company has issued a patent for the product, which it states in the release, will result in “increased energy efficiency and a dramatic cut in kilowatt hour charges.”

PowerLock works with automatic sensing technology to provide a safer drying experience for pick-up beds by delaying or eliminating drying. The release explains that it “allows dryers to operate continuously while preventing air flow between vehicles and [minimizing] peak load charges.”

The PowerLock has an “all-aluminum construction and stainless steel UHMW glide surfaces,” the release noted.

CSI announces backroom makeover winners

DE PERE, Wis. — Over the course of the four spring tradeshows, Cleaning Systems Inc. (CSI), gave attendees the chance to register to win a backroom makeover, and now the winners have been announced, according to a press release.          

The grand prize winner, Steve Smith of Star 95 Car Wash and Detail located in Minnesota, won an Ultraflex System by Lustra and a Mizer System by SAS. “I am very excited for this opportunity to make renovations to the carwash," Smith stated in the press release. "The Mizer will provide a more economical way to save water as well as increase our product performance.” 

The benefits of using more environmentally-friendly chemicals and conserving more water are things that Smith is looking forward to communicating to his wash customers, according to the release.

Three first prize winners received other prizes from Lustra’s premium products line, according to the release.