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Business Operations

News from the industry

October 11, 2010
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Procter & Gamble looking for franchises
Procter & Gamble (P&G) is expanding its Mr. Clean Performance Car Wash to major metropolitan areas in Ohio and Kentucky and is looking for “qualified multi-unit operators” in Dayton, Northern Kentucky, and other major markets.

The carwashes will follow the format established by the first two Mr. Clean Car Wash prototypes, which opened last year in Cincinnati. The franchise fee will be $35,000, with a six percent royalty fee and seven percent fee for marketing.

Each full-service carwash will be about 8,000 square feet on a 1.2 to two-acre lot with conveyor equipment, featuring a luxurious lobby with widescreen televisions, coffee bars and a “sud soaker station” for children. The locations will employ between 30 and 50 people.

P&G has already met with two potential franchisees, both in the Cincinnati market. The company’s first two Mr. Clean locations in Cincinnati will remain corporate locations.

In July, the company held the grand opening of its first “waterless” carwash, Mr. Clean AutoSPA. There are no plans yet to franchise or expand this part of its carwash business. It’s partner in the project, ProntoWash, is already an international franchiser of carwash businesses that use a proprietary formula to wash cars with less than 16 ounces of water.

Home Depot not ruling out expansion just yet
In response to an earlier report which said Home Depot would cease development on further c-stores, company spokeswoman Paula Drake has said the home-improvement giant is “definitely pleased” with its prototype locations in Tennessee and Georgia and has not ruled out further development.

While the chain does “not have plans to open any additional Fuel stores in 2008, regarding 2009, we have not yet released our specific new-store plans for next year,” Drake said.

All of the company’s six Fuel c-stores (some of which have in-bay automatic carwashes) will remain open. The company’s sixth store opened in June 2007.

L.A. city council supports carwash workers
Los Angeles City Council members voted unanimously to support the efforts of local workers and their supporters to improve conditions in the carwash industry.

The Community-Labor-Environmental Action Network (or CLEAN Carwash Campaign), a coalition of community, religious, and labor organizations formed earlier this year, rallied on the steps of city hall before the vote to urge the city council to support the resolution.

Councilman Ed Reyes, who introduced and co-authored the resolution, said it “asks the city to investigate whether or not we contract with any outside carwash companies and if so recommends that we re-evaluate those relationships.”

The city has contracts with several carwashes, including Auto Spa Express, Inc. (dba Car Wash on Sunset), which was the target of a picket by carwash workers and the CLEAN coalition in August.

In recent months, carwash workers have formed the Carwash Workers Organizing Committee of the United Steelworkers (CWOC-USW) and filed complaints against L.A. carwashes. The city council is calling on the carwash owners named in the lawsuit to settle and follow all labor laws.

Splash & Dash grows to 13 locations
Splash & Dash Car Wash, a Sacramento-based chain of exterior-only, express carwashes, has acquired Quick Quack Car Wash, a chain of seven carwashes in northwest Texas and Colorado.

Splash & Dash will officially assume the Quick Quack name and re-brand five of their six Sacramento area locations as Quick Quack Car Wash. The acquisition makes Splash & Dash the 30th largest conveyor carwash chain in the nation.

There are plans to continue expansion efforts in multiple states including California, Texas and Colorado.

Autobell moves into Georgia
Autobell Car Wash Inc., based in Charlotte, NC, has opened its first location in Georgia, and its 51st site overall, with a store Suwanee, GA.

Autobell is the third-largest conveyor carwash chain in the nation. The company opened its 50th location this summer in Harrisburg, NC.

The privately held and family-operated company has said it is looking for other locations in the Atlanta metro area.

GinSan acquired
Sigrid Valk-Feeney, former general manager of MANN+HUMMEL AUTOMOTIVE, has partnered with a Grand Rapids, MI/Nashville, TN-based private equity fund to acquire the assets of GinSan Industries, Inc. and Industrial Vacuum Systems.

GinSan is an international manufacturer of self-service carwash systems and related electronics. Industrial Vacuum Systems is a manufacturer of carwash vacuum equipment.

Jeff Anderson, the former owner of the companies, will remain involved with the business as a technical advisor and customer support resource.

Under its new direction, the company intends to pursue strategic acquisitions within the industry to expand its product offerings and create value for its distribution.

Mace ousts Paolino, brings on Raefield
Mace Security International, Inc., a personal defense product and security manufacturer and also an operator of carwashes, has appointed Dennis Raefield as chief executive officer and president following the removal of Louis D. Paolino.

Raefield is the former president of Reach Systems, Inc., a privately owned manufacturer of security access control systems, and a member of the board of directors of Mace since October 2007.

The company is still seeking to sell its remaining carwashes in Texas.