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News from the industry

October 11, 2010
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Martin “Marty” Hodgins, vice president of sales for The Advanced Group Inc., a long-time carwash distributor, passed away due to heart failure on June 28 at the age of 51.

Hodgins had been a part of the carwash industry for 29 years, having started out building and installing Townco Carwash equipment. He joined The Advanced Group in 1992 which was then known as Advanced Car Wash and Security Systems, Inc.

Advanced Car Wash Systems Sales Associate Bill Towhey said, “We receive calls reinforcing the fact that Marty never had customers or competitors, just friends.”Hodgins is survived by his wife of 32 years, a son, two grandchildren and his mother.

John L. Bulboff, 82, who was the owner of two Thrifty Laundromat and Shammy Shine Carwashes, passed away on July 19.

Bulboff had been a truck driver for many years before retiring at 62. It was then he purchased his first Laundromat and carwash. In 1999, he purchased another location.

He admired antique cars and even went to Europe with his 1903 Oldsmobile to participate in the Brighton Run in London.

Bulboff is survived by Mary, his wife of 32 years, and three sons and 14 grandchildren.

Trigger Craig, owner of Your Car Wash in Troy, MI, passed away, according to a condolence note released by the Midwest Carwash Association.

A memorial service was held at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Birmingham, MI, on June 27.


In Other News

Epic Car Wash Supply Ltd., of Richmond, Canada, will now sell and service Washworld equipment in British Columbia.

The new distributor will be headed by President Dan Findlay, who has over five years of experience in the carwash industry.

According to the company, Findlay is skilled in site design and equipment layout, on site repairs and electronic troubleshooting.

Washworld, Inc. manufactures the High Velocity® and Razor touch-free wash systems, Radiantz soft cloth wash system, and MOTO EXPRESS WASH® touch-free motorcycle wash.

The 7 Flags Car Wash and Express Lube location in Fairfield, CA, is the first green business in the city to be certified by Solano County.

Solano County has certified four other businesses in the county. Those companies must “conserve energy and water, recycle and reduce their waste and ensure they don’t pollute.”

The standards have been set by a team of inspectors from the Solano Garbage Company, City of Fairfield Water Division, Small Business Energy Alliance, Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District and the County Hazardous Materials Division.

The owners of Vanity Car Wash, a self-service carwash and ice cream eatery in Hilldale, MI, are handing out the keys to their business — literally — in a unique promotion that has generated a lot of buzz. “We think it’s probably the first time anyone has tried anything like this,” said Victoria Burke, co-owner of the business along with her family.

The carwash will sell 6,000 numbered sets of “Express Keys” for $100 (plus cost of key) each. As well as being good for $100 off any service at the wash, the keys also enter the purchaser into a raffle for the ownership of Vanity Car Wash, its inventory and the adjoining ice cream business.

The raffle will be held in May 2010, or after 6,000 keys are sold, whichever comes first, the website site.

A new Datamonitor survey evaluates the carwash preferences of consumers in Spain, including the type of carwash used, frequency, and popularity/satisfaction of each.

Datamonitor has previously released reports concerning carwash preferences in France and Italy.

The survey of 1,750 consumers also assesses “what is important to motorists when they are selecting how to wash their car and measures how different wash types perform in meeting their expectations.”

Highlights from the survey:

• Motorists in Spain are most concerned with care of vehicle exterior, closely followed by wash quality, when they select a carwash. Value for money is also an important consideration but ranks third, which is lower than in other markets.

• Motorists were asked to name the brand of carwash they most commonly use. Only 8 percent said that they never used a branded carwash. Among those who do use a branded wash, Repsol dominates the market, being cited by 32 percent of respondents.

Car Wash Services of the South East (CWSSE) hosted a Car Wash Investor Seminar, conducted by CarWash College.

The seminar, which took place June 8, outlined ways to build a successful wash and gave special attention to express exterior washes. It covered everything from choosing a location to financing to site selection.

Representatives from Simoniz, DRB and ICS, and contractors and realtors all spoke at the event.

More than 30 people were in attendance.

A June PriceGrabber.com consumer survey found that a growing number of Americans are now doing their own house-cleaning, carwashing, yard work and home repairs as a way to save money.

Nearly 66 percent of the 3,156 consumers surveyed are going the do-it-yourself route, and 90 percent said they will continue money-saving practices even after the economy improves.

An earlier survey found only 71 percent were committed to maintaining a DIY strategy after the anticipated recovery.

According to the company’s calculations, the number of cars cleaned by tunnel carwashes using computer products from DRB Systems has topped 2 billion.

The maker of the SiteWatch POS system and TunnelWatch controller has been supplying computer products to the carwash industry since 1985. The company added an odometer-like traffic counter to its website home page a little over 10 years ago. At the time, the number of cars cleaned by the computer company’s customers stood at 704,000,000.

WashCard Systems, a provider of credit and debit card acceptance technology to the carwash industry for nearly 20 years, is washing its way into the laundry business.

WashCard spent three years researching the self-service laundry business and visited the Clean Show, the major trade show for Laundromat operators, in 2007.

Ryan Carlson, project manager for the company, said the company intends to use lessons learned in the carwash industry and apply them to the needs of self-service laundry owners, operators and customers.

Empire Auto Detailers, a mobile detailing company servicing the Washington, DC, area, has re-launched its website, ww.shinemyride.com. The new site has a redesigned homepage, a ­­­­redesigned and updated photo gallery, and a new “Specials” page. The site’s FAQs and customer testimonial pages have also been updated.

The company said it will “continue to update our site to keep it fresh, informative and cutting edge,” and has plans to create Facebook and Twitter accounts.


In Association News

The Georgia chapter of the Southeastern Car Wash Association hosted a July 20 “wrap meeting” to discuss the progress the group has made in helping carwash operators during the state’s recent drought.

SECWA/GA was founded in 2007 after Georgia municipalities started to enact water restrictions in response to a statewide drought.

In July, the state’s director of the Environmental Protection Division announced the “drought was over.”