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Business Operations

News from the industry

October 11, 2010
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Home Depot carwash chain has shaky future
Home Depot’s convenience store, gas station and carwash chain (a.k.a. “Fuel”) faces an uncertain future now that a key player has left the company.

Jim Stoddart, vice president of growth initiatives, helped launch the program last year. It is scheduled to have 300 sites in the United States by 2010.

Currently, there are four Fuel test locations, with two additional locations under construction. But the program may be at a standstill now that new Home Depot CEO Frank Blake is refocusing all growth efforts on the core business.

Home Depot has named Eric Peterson, formerly the senior vice president of merchandising services, to replace Stoddart and lead the growth for the Fuel stores.

Mace sells five more carwashes
Mace Security International, Inc., a manufacturer of surveillance products and owner/operator of car and truck wash facilities, has signed purchase agreements for five of its remaining carwashes, for a total of over $3 million, approximately $845,000 above the recorded net book values.

In addition to these sales, Mace has officially closed the sale of its Arizona carwash region for $19,250,000 in cash plus $135,000 for inventory.

With the completion of this transaction Mace now has 22 carwashes for sale (six are in Florida and 16 are in Texas) and is no longer among the top 3 conveyor carwash chains in the nation.

The company also discovered embezzlement by an accounting controller. The approximate amount was $300,000.

Wal-Mart carwashes sold
Murphy Oil USA Inc., a low-cost gasoline chain, has entered into an agreement with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and subsidiaries to purchase the property, gas stations and carwashes that the company currently leases from Wal-Mart.

Murphy USA operates more than 1,000 gas stations in Wal-Mart parking lots. At least five of those locations include carwashes.

Under the terms of the agreement, the conveyance of the parcels will occur in multiple phases over the next year.

Murphy Oil also plans to close up to 47 of those locations.

In addition to Murphy Oil, Wal-Mart leases parking lot space at about 120 of its stores to Tesoro Corp. and Sunoco Inc.

Last year, Costco and Home Depot also entered the Big Box carwash world.

CA carwash citations exceed $700,000
After a low-rate of industry compliance, the California Department of Industrial Relations is urging carwash operators to register with the state by contacting trade magazines and media

The law does not include any self-service carwash or automated carwash that has employees for cashiering or maintenance purposes only, nor does it include individuals who wash cars but have no employees.

During the latest raid where 25 carwashes were inspected, a total of 33 citations were issued in San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties as the state’s Economic and Employment Enforcement Coalition (EEEC) continued its crackdown on CA’s carwash industry.

Citations included no workers’ compensation, not taking required payroll deductions, child labor, not paying proper wages and having the required carwash registration.

Splash takes over, builds another
Splash Carwash, a chain of 22 washes and the 9th largest conveyor operator in the nation headquartered in Stamford, CT, has taken over the management of Fishkill Car Wash in Fishkill, NY.

The Fishkill location is in the process of being converted to a Splash Carwash with the addition of detailing and branded signage.

The site houses 110’ automated tunnel with 3 self-serve bays.

Splash is also managing the completion of a new location in Pearl River, NY, to be its 23rd carwash and its 14th hand wash. The site will be a full-service Splash Hand Wash and Oil Change, also featuring 4 bays of self-serve.

Splash has sold its Fairfield Express location, a managed site in Connecticut that had been operated by Splash for the past five years.

Mark VII financial results
Mark VII Equipment, a U.S. supplier of carwash equipment, saw its revenues climb from $3.8 million to $9.4 million in the second quarter of 2007, following a rather dismal performance in the first quarter.

Focus in the current fiscal year is on expanding the product portfolio, optimizing the sales and service channels, and creating a solid basis for further growth in the key market.

Mark VII is a subsidiary of Wash Tec AG of Augsburg, Germany, a global supplier of carwash equipment.

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