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News from the industry

October 11, 2010
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Autobell opens 47th site in South Carolina
Autobell Car Wash Inc. has opened its 47th location overall and its first in South Carolina.

The site is located in a fast-growing community just south of the state’s border with North Carolina near Charlotte — where Autobell is headquartered.

Autobell is the second largest conveyor carwash chain in the nation, with 47 units in 23 North Carolina, 1 South Carolina, and 4 Virginia municipalities. The company employs around 1,200 people and washes over 2 million cars annually.

Earlier this year, the carwash chain’s CEO and president, Chuck Howard, was inducted into the International Carwash Associa-tion’s Carwash Hall of Fame at the association’s annual show and expo in Las Vegas.

Boomerang opens 17th location
Drive Clean, LLC, the carwash developer behind the Boomerang Car Wash chain, opened its fifth express exterior carwash in Oklahoma City, and its 17th location overall.

Boomerang is also one step closer to opening a carwash in Kansas City, where the Blue Springs City Council decided to approve new zoning that would allow Boomerang to build and operate a carwash in a local shopping center.

The $3 million carwash still needs approval of a site plan and conditional-use permit.

A few people, mostly owners of other carwashes, opposed the plan in a public hearing, saying the city already has too many carwashes.

WashTech AG announces Mark VII financial analysis
Since acquiring Mark VII Equipment Inc. in early 2006, WashTech AG has significantly increased the carwash manufacturer’s sales and earnings, although sales fell short of expectations last year.

Total sales for the WashTec Group, an international supplier of carwash equipment based in Germany, increased by 15.8 percent, due in part to positive development in core European markets and to the addition of sales from Mark VII.

Foreign business accounts for 65 percent of the company’s total sales, but WashTec said in the release it wants to grow in southern and Eastern Europe markets during 2007.

In January 2007, the company acquired its Spanish sales partner.

C-store industry goes up 15 percent in 2006
C-store sales in 2006 continue a four-year run of extraordinary growth, with industry sales almost double the 2002 total of $290 billion.

The $74.1 billion increase in sales was the largest yearly increase ever recorded, fueled by a 17.9 percent surge in motor fuel sales, which rose to $405.8 billion.

A report earlier this year indicated that carwashes were the second most popular profit center to add to a c-store.

Brown Bear study: Driveway washes hurting environment
Brown Bear Car Wash, a chain of 20 conveyor carwashes based in Seattle and the 16th largest conveyor operator in the nation, recently commissioned a study by Environmental Partners, Inc. that proved wastewater from driveway and charity parking lot carwashes is threatening fish and aquatic life in the Puget Sound region.

To determine the effects of charity and driveway carwashing, the Issaquah-based environmental study group captured wastewater from a parking lot charity carwash to analyze its effects on fish.

The same study also used simulated carwash runoff in a laboratory to determine how driveway washing affects aquatic life.

Professional Carwashing & Detailing has obtained a copy of the study and intends to publish a summary of its findings in the near future.

The independent study pointed out that some charity carwashes use collection techniques to divert wastewater and do not harm the environment.

Information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said about 27 million Americans are still considered to be potential residential carwash polluters.

Earlier this year, Vic Odermat, founder and president of Brown Bear Car Wash, was inducted into the International Carwash Association’s Hall of Fame, in part for his efforts in educating the consumer public about the environmental effects of professional vs. non-professional carwashing.

Mace’s Arizona sale delayed again
Mace Security International, manufacturer of self defense products and operator of car and truck washes, has extended the closing date to sell its 12 Arizona carwashes once again. Currently, Mace owns and operates 41 carwashes in five states.

The extension of the Arizona sale is at the request of the purchaser. Originally, the carwashes were expected to be sold by April 6.

This latest extension comes on the heels of a failed sale back in August involving the 12 Arizona carwashes.

Back then, the price was $19.5 million and the closing date was June 15, which then extended to July 31, and then to August 4, when the purchaser, CW Acquisition, finally acknowledged they were unable to arrange funding.

In this most recent transaction, the price for all 12 Arizona carwashes is $19,250,000, of which $500,000 was put down in escrow when the agreement was signed in December.

As part of the agreement to extend the closing, the $500,000 escrow deposit has been turned over to Mace by the escrow agent.

The purchaser has deposited an additional $250,000 to be held by the escrow agent until closing, which will be given to Mace is the purchaser fails to close by the new date.

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