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The following is an exclusive interview between Professional Carwashing & Detailing Editor Debra Gorgos and Steve L’Heureux, CEO for Ryko Solutions, Inc. Last week, it was announced that Ryko, of Grimes, Iowa, had agreed to acquire National Carwash Solutions, L.P. (NCS). L’Heureux speaks about the reason behind the acquisition and how the two companies will work together moving forward.
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Debra Gorgos: How does National Carwash Solutions meld with the Ryko Solutions’ mission statement?
Steve L’Heureux: In early 2011, Ryko conducted a strategic review of the business that included input from our employees, customers and accomplished individuals from throughout the carwash industry. One of the key outcomes of that process was that bringing great products and services to the market was insufficient, Ryko needed to do a better job helping our customers build strong, viable carwash businesses. That belief is captured in our company’s mission statement, “Partnering for a More Profitable Car Wash.” Ryko delivers on that mission statement every day by offering a wide range of products and services that help our customers drive improved carwash counts and higher average ticket prices. And it’s working; we collect monthly washcount data from over 2,000 carwash sites so we know our customers are enjoying better than the industry average increases in washcounts as reported by the International Carwash Association (ICA). As our customers grew more successful, Ryko did as well, with revenues increasing in excess of $50 million over the past three years.
What caught our attention when we first met with NCS management was that they shared the same belief. NCS became the largest independent carwash service provider by focusing on their customer’s business success — not just offering good products and services.
Today, as our two management teams contemplate the combination of Ryko and National Carwash Solutions, we are remaining keenly focused on our shared vision of helping our customers build more profitable carwash businesses. We will do that by ensuring a customer centric focus on bundling world-class technical support, highly-engineered carwash equipment, environmentally safe cleaning solutions, and business building consultation services drawn from a team of over 500 carwash industry professionals who are committed to our customer’s success. We understand that if our customers are successful and thrive, Ryko will be successful and thrive.
Debra Gorgos: Will the NCS name change? If yes, when will that take place?
Steve L’Heureux: The NCS and Ryko organizations will be integrated with a focus on identifying and preserving best practices from both companies. The unified business will operate under the Ryko brand. We expect the integration process to be completed within six months of closing the transaction.
Debra Gorgos: What would you like to say to current NCS customers about this acquisition?
Steve L’Heureux: Most importantly, the great customer service you’ve come to expect from NCS will continue. Both companies share a common focus on customer service and that will be retained. The combined companies will have greater resources and a deeper talent pool from which to deliver a broader and richer set of services and products that will translate into a competitive advantage for our customers in the marketplace.
Debra Gorgos: Now that this acquisition is in its final stages, what is next for Ryko?
Steve L’Heureux: Ryko’s future is very bright. We’re passionate about helping our customers build profitable carwash businesses and will remain focused on that mission. We will continue to bring new exciting products and services to market, like the CleanFill chemical management system introduced at the ICA show earlier this year and we’ll continue to evaluate potential add-on acquisitions that will contribute to growth and ability to better serve our customers.