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Industry Watch

August 01, 2014
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Company News

Motor City Wash Works hosts open house

DETROIT — Motor City Wash Works, Inc. hosted a day-long open house celebration on June 17, which also included an auction fundraiser, demonstrations, food and drinks, and attendees, including members of Professional Carwashing & Detailing magazine, were taken to Comerica Park to see the Detroit Tigers take on the Kansas City Royals. 

"This is an opportunity to bring customers and distributors together and show them our appreciation," said Motor City Wash Works President Lee Belanger.

The auction's proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer foundation. Belanger, who along with Richard Belanger and Bob Wentworth founded the carwash equipment, parts and accessories company in 2004, says that last year they were able to raise $10,000.

This was the first time Rusty Schwartz of Sun County Wash Systems has been to Motor City Wash Works. Schwartz, who works as a sales manager for the washes based in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado says he came to learn more about the industry. "We use Motor City for our new washes, upgrades and equipment. Motor City is professional and courteous."

Motor City treated its guests to the baseball game and was a highlight of the day that many in attendance were looking forward to.

Chris Costa, director of sales for WashSource, decided to attend the one-day event to get a better understanding of the company. "It's been great for networking and I'm excited to finally meet the people I have built a relationship with over the phone," he says.

To see more photos, visit the PC&D Facebook Page

Exclusive interview with Steve L’Heureux regarding the Ryko acquisition

The following is an exclusive interview between Professional Carwashing & Detailing Editor Debra Gorgos and Steve L’Heureux, CEO for Ryko Solutions, Inc. On June 10, it was announced that Ryko, of Grimes, Iowa, had agreed to acquire National Carwash Solutions, L.P. (NCS). L’Heureux spoke about the reason behind the acquisition and how the two companies will work together moving forward.

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. 

DRB Systems receives investment from Prairie Capital

SEATTLE — Prairie Capital, a private equity firm based in Chicago, has made a strategic investment in DRB Systems, according to a press release.  

The announcement of the deal was made June 4 by Corum Group, a mergers and acquisitions advisory firm that represents DRB.

“DRB is the unquestioned software leader for the conveyorized car wash industry, with a 30-year history of strongly supporting their customers with their solutions,” stated Prairie Capital Vice President Tony Danielak, in the release. He continued that the company looks forward to helping build upon DRB’s success.

“I greatly appreciated the very deep and thorough process we went through with Corum,” DRB President Dale Brott stated in the press release. “Because of that process, we had a number of options, which means I’m confident that we have selected the right partner.” re-launches under new ownership

FORT WORTH, Texas — has been transferred from founder Ryan Carlson to Perry Powell, of Perry Powell Consulting, according to a press release. is a podcast and blog bringing together experts in the carwash field every week, Carlson noted in the release, and he's glad to have found someone to continue the website's legacy. “In an effort to continue the work I began in the carwash industry, I am pleased to announce the transfer of the WashIdeas site into the knowledgeable hands (and brain) of Perry Powell.”

The initial website was a great launching pad for Powell, who said he hopes to continue to run it as a place where people in the industry can gain valuable information.

The website re-launched in Powell’s vision on June 2, noted the release. “I look forward to advancing the concept, first conceived by Ryan, and placing my own fingerprints on the effort.”

Association News

Puget Sound Car Wash Association spreading word about cleaning cars the right way

SEATTLE — The Puget Sound Car Wash Association is getting the message out that cars need to be cleaned by a professional to avoid environmental damage, according to a press release. 

“If you wash your car in your drive-way, the soap and chemicals can go down the storm drain and pollute our waters and Puget Sound,” the release stated.

Professional carwashes, the release noted, have oil/water separators that remove pollutants. They also have other benefits like using less water.

A media kit has also been prepared by the organization to make it easier for people to get the message out about carwashing.

For more information, contact the Puget Sound Car Wash Association at 206-622-8425.

NYSCWA Hits a Home Run with Mets Event

QUEENS, NY — The New York State Car Wash Association (NYSCWA) held its annual baseball event when the New York Mets took on the Oakland Athletics at City Field on June 24.

The Mets won in a 10-1 victory and according to event coordinator Mike Benmosche, the day was a success. “Good food, great company and weather, and the Mets won!” Benmosche stated in the press release. “It was a super outing enjoyed by all who attended.”

NYSCWA President Walt Hartl also stated in the press release, “Once again, our trip to Citi Field was a huge success. A special thanks to our event sponsors, Grand Slam Sponsor MicroLogic, Triple Play Sponsor Simoniz USA and Ball Park Frank Sponsor Innovative Control Systems, for their support as always.”

People News

RV and boat detailer Randy Lowe passes away at 62

Randall (Randy) E. Lowe passed away on March 1 at the age of 62 after a brief illness. Born in Hillsboro, Ore., Lowe attended schools in Vancouver, Wash. and Salem, Ore. before serving in the army and doing a tour of duty in Vietnam from 1970-1971.

Upon his return to Oregon, he worked for a boat manufacturer, which began his passion for boats and RVs, noted the obituary. 

He opened Randy’s Custom Detail in Salem, Ore. in 1992, which was the “oldest and most respect boat and RV detailing expert,” according to the website. The detailing business eventually expanded from a mobile location to a larger facility. Lowe was described as very passionate about his work, and the motto of Custom Detail was, “It’s not just clean, it’s RANDY clean!”

His other passions included traveling in his motorhome, Nascar and rebuilding Jeeps, according to the obituary.

The love of his life Cindy Pfau, who he married in 2001, passed away just over two months later on May 12 at the age of 61.

Lowe was a contributing writer to PC&D, where he wrote about his experience in the detailing industry. He was also a member of the PDTA and ICA. His articles can be read here


Poll results:

Our June American Flag poll, which asked if you display a flag at your business, had the following results (as of July 1):

Yes, I am proud to be an American all year long! [50 votes] (78%)


Yes, but only when it's a national holiday, like July 4th or Memorial Day. [6 votes] (9%)


No, but I am not sure why. [3 votes] (5%)


No, I am not proud to be an American! [2 votes] (3%)


No. A business is no place for superfluous displays. [3 votes] (5%)