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Business Operations

News from the industry

October 11, 2010
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Mister Car Wash, the country’s second largest conveyor carwash chain, has named John Lai as its new chief operating officer.

Lai was previously vice president of market development. He joined the company, which operates 64 carwashes and 24 lube shops in seven states throughout the U.S., in June of 2002.

Lai is a former vice president of sales for FinanCenter Inc., a software company, and also previously served as president of Blue Coral Systems Inc., a specialty chemical company.

He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the International Carwash Association and is also active in the Tucson community serving on the Board of Directors for the University of Arizona Men’s Lacrosse Team.

Lai received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Arizona.

Larry Harbour, owner of LB Custom Chrome and Detail, was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Center for Rural Affairs, a center that helps small businesses and aspiring business owners.

The Center for Rural Affairs previously helped Harbour to prepare a business plan and procure a bank loan and in October 2006, Harbour was able to open his detail business.

Randy Ferman, manager of research and development for Flowserve’s Pump Division, has been honored as the Hydraulic Institute (HI) 2008 Member of the Year.

The award was presented at the 92nd Annual Meeting recently held in Marco Island, FL.

Ferman was chosen for his significant and sustained contributions to the Hydraulic Institute. He served as chairman of the Hydraulic Institute/Pump Systems Matter “Optimizing Pumping Systems” Guidebook (OPS) Committee, leading to publication in 2008 of the 200+ page guide in less than two years.

The Hydraulic Institute (HI) is the largest association of pump producers and suppliers to the pump industry in North America.

In Other News

Rowe International, a manufacturer of bill-to-bill/coin changers and jukeboxes, is integrating with Bristol, PA-based Merit Entertainment, which makes touch screen games and jukeboxes, in an effort to reduce overhead.

The two companies will run as a single and consolidated team and Rowe will now move its manufacturing operations to Reynosa, Mexico. The Grand Rapids-based manufacturing facility will close down as a result of the merger.

Technical and order entry support, sales, engineering, accounting and administrative employees will also be relocated, but will stay in the Grand Rapids area.

Esurance, the direct-to-consumer online auto insurance company, has teamed up with Splendor Carwash, a waterless carwash company, to promote a new, co-branded waterless carwashing kit.

Esurance's Director of Brand & Public Relations Kristin Brewe, said, “Working with Splendor to provide a co-branded waterless carwash kit seemed like a natural extension of our environmental commitment.”

Mazzarella Car Care Systems, LLC, is launching a television ad campaign promoting its Hot Body Wax product for detailers and car enthusiasts.

The 30-second commercials will air through this November in selected U.S. markets.

The commercial, “Give Your Car the Body Its Been Asking For,” will air on Speed, Versus, ESPN2, FUSE, Spike TV, Fox Sports Net, and HGTV. The demographic being targeted is 19- to 54-year-old men.

The Collaborative Auto Detailing Training Center has outgrown its Boston location and will move into a new 10,000-square-foot building here.

The Training Center offers detailing, reconditioning, entrepreneurship, business management and organizational theory classes.

The new classroom will include large screen displays, document cameras, high speed Internet access, and ergonomic furniture.

D&S Car Wash Equipment Company, a manufacturer of in-bay automatics, self-serve equipment and industrial vacuums, has appointed Crest Industries, Inc., as a distributor for eastern Missouri, which includes the St. Louis Metropolitan Area.

Crest Industries has served the St. Louis automotive market for the last 40 years representing Platinum Car Wash Products.

Mark VII Equipment Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of WashTec AG of Germany, a global supplier of carwash equipment, has signed Midwest Carwash Systems as its distributor in Iowa and eastern Nebraska.

Midwest Carwash Systems is owned by Darrell Winter and based in Cedar Rapids, IA, with offices and technicians in Des Moines and Omaha. The company is now servicing all Mark VII customers throughout the territory and can be reached at 319-294-4853.

Harrell’s Car Wash Systems, makers of an automated touch-free motorcycle wash said to be the first of its kind in this country, have signed an agreement with Washworld Inc., manufacturer of carwash systems in DePere, WI, to manufacture and distribute Harrell’s MOTO EXPRESS WASH™ brand automated motorcycle wash.

Washworld will manufacture the MOTO EXPRESS WASH™ automated motorcycle wash at its headquarters in Wisconsin. Under the licensing agreement, Washworld will be responsible for the manufacturing, distribution, marketing and sales of the automated motorcycle wash.

PDQ Manufacturing, Inc., a manufacturer of carwash systems, has appointed Fuel Pros, Inc., as a non-exclusive distributor serving the Southern California market.

Chino, CA-based Fuel Pros, Inc., will distribute PDQ’s full range of products. Fuel Pros can be reached at (909) 614-1379 or

PDQ also appointed Tucson Car Wash Supply, as a non-exclusive distributor serving the Arizona market. This new agreement took effect March 1, 2009.

Tucson, AZ-based Tucson Car Wash Supply will distribute PDQ’s full range of products. Tucson Car Wash Supply can be reached at (520) 770-1311 or

In Association News

The Western Carwash Association (WCA) has launched its new and improved WCA Membership Database as part of its website,

WCA members have been sent temporary Member ID and logins via an e-mail form.

In addition to being able to manage their online profile, members will also be able to:
• Add additional location information;
• Pay your membership dues online; and
• View new Members Only content.

More than 1,200 carwash owners and exhibitors gathered in February at the Arlington Convention Center and Sheraton Hotel in Arlington, TX, for the 2009 SCWA Convention and Expo.

The show included three strong days of “industry innovations, business solutions and unparalleled hospitality.”

The show kicked-off with its popular and much anticipated CEO forum. CEO participants included Russell Coleman, Jim Coleman Company/Hanna; Ron Peterson, Mister Car Wash; and Buddy Roemer, Business Bank First.

Charlie Gates of Octopus Car Washes based in Albuquerque, NM, was installed as the 2009-2010 SCWA president.

Award winners at the Annual Awards Banquet included:

  • 2009 Self-serve/Automatic Car Wash of the Year: Progressive Car Wash, Corpus Christi, TX;
  • 2009 Conveyor/Exterior Car Wash of the Year: CARisma Car Wash in Houston, TX;
  • Conveyor Car Wash Manager of the year: Don Jacobs, QwikWash America!, McKinney, TX; and
  • 2009 SCWA Community Service award: Phillip Taylor and the Texas Fallen Soldier Project.

2010 SCWA Association Convention and Expo will be held February 21-23, 2010, in Arlington, TX.

The Independent Glass Association (IGA) has chosen two shop owners to tell their stories as part of the Association’s keynote address at its annual Independents’ Days Conference and Spring Auto Glass Show™, May 12-14 at the Sanibel Harbour Resort in Fort Myers, FL.

Greg Coccaro of North State Custom in Bedford Hills, NY, and Bruce Hutchins of Bruce’s Super Body Shop in Richmond, VA, will both present their stories of how they dealt with automotive insurance companies.

Coccaro will speak on Tuesday, May 12, at 2:30 p.m., about a lawsuit he recently won against Progressive Insurance.

Hutchins will speak on Wednesday, May 13, at 9, a.m., and discuss with attendees his decision to stop participating in any direct repair programs.

The IGA is an association dedicated to the needs of the independent glass (and glass/collision) companies in North America.