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News from the industry

October 11, 2010
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Proctor & Gamble bringing “Mr. Clean” to carwashing
Consumer giant Procter & Gamble is in negotiations to build a carwash as part of the company’s research into creating a national wash chain.

Glenn Williams, a company spokesperson, said the carwash will be a conveyorized express exterior tunnel. The Ohio-based facility will be used as a test site to gather information on operations of a carwash, as well as consumer likes and dislikes.

The company is working with Cincinnati developer Steve Miller, who is currently battling the town over zoning changes which could stop the carwash. Miller was able to obtain more than 1,300 signatures on a petition which has been presented to the town to lift both a building moratorium and the added restrictions.

In addition to Miller, P&G is also working with SONNY’S of Tamarac, FL, to supply the equipment for the tunnel. SONNY’S President Paul Fazio said he could not talk about any discussions, citing a confidentiality agreement between the companies.

P&G spokesman Williams said there is no direction yet as to whether the company would take the concept into a franchised operation, company-owned facilities or just brand the name, with independents buying P&G supplies.

This won’t be the first time Procter & Gamble has stepped into the carwashing world. A half-dozen years ago, the company launched Mr. Clean AutoDry, aimed at the driveway carwash market.

Mace sells carwash for $1.85 million
Mace Security International Inc. has sold its Dallas carwash for $1.85 million in cash and will try to sell the rest of its carwashes individually or by region, rather than all at once.

Mace shut down the Dallas carwash in March because the facility needed significant structural repairs. The sale price is $450,000 above book value. The company intends to use the money to pay down debt and expand the security segment of its business.

C-store chain testing express exterior washes
Convenience store chain QuikTrip is building conveyorized carwashes at two of its locations in the second phase of a project to decide if there's a market for upscale carwashes chain-wide.

The two QT carwashes will be brushless conveyors staffed by QT employees. The washes will also include free vacuum services and free air for tires.

A phase-one carwash built in Glenpool, OK, has already been a “tremendous success” according to QT officials.

If things go well in Kansas, the company said it will put carwashes in Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Arizona and Georgia, and grow their Kansas and Oklahoma markets.

Last year, QuikTrip was number 32 on Forbes list of America's 300 largest privately held companies. The company has more than 460 convenience stores in nine states. No store is franchised.

Second arrest in carwash supplier’s death
A second man has been arrested in connection with a double homicide involving the death of a Southeastern Car Wash Association member.

Professional Car Care Online first reported the deaths of Mark Robinson and Tammy Rosario in August. Robinson was the owner of Car Wash Service Express, a carwash supply company based in Stedman, NC.

Richard Bernard Gill Jr., 46, was arrested and is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count each of felony possession of stolen goods and robbery with a dangerous weapon. He is being held without bond.

Another suspect was charged with two counts of armed robbery and two counts of first-degree murder two days after the homicides. Authorities said they believe that robbery was the motive in the slayings.

Mister Carwash must pay for racial slurs
A Superior Court judge has ordered Mister Carwash to pay $114,000 for racial slurs and offensive comments made to an employee at one of its carwashes.

The complaint was filed last year and quoted area manager Robert Raskell as saying Mister Carwash is fully committed to equal opportunity and employment as well as acting in compliance with all laws.

Mister Carwash, the fourth largest carwash chain in the country, has 30 days in which to file an appeal.

Home Depot c-store/carwash strikes GA market
The Home Depot opened its first Home Depot Fuel convenience store, gas station and carwash in Georgia, and its third site overall in a company plan to test the carwash and c-store market.

The newest link in the c-store chain has a 2,700-square-foot convenience store, a filling station and an in-bay automatic carwash that can handle large pickup trucks and vans. The wash is designed, like the convenience stores, to appeal to contractors.

Based on the success of this Acworth, GA, location and its two sister sites in Tennessee, the company will decide whether to expand the c-store concept to new markets. Currently, Home Depot projects that each Fuel location, including the new Acworth store, will have revenue of $5 million to $7 million per year.