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• Internet giant Google announced a partnership with Valpak to distribute online coupons covering local markets on the Internet.
For consumers, the agreement means about half the coupons delivered to their mailboxes in Valpak's traditional blue envelope can also be found by typing a term like “car wash 94303” into a search box at maps.google.com.
Customers can print the coupons at home and redeem them at a local business. The coupon service will include all advertisers using Valpak.com.
Google is also planning to offer its own coupons to advertisers who have text-based ads run alongside search results triggered by words or phrases.
For example, a local business without a website could attract customers by buying key words such as “Palo Alto carwash” that steer people to a coupon they could print out and redeem at the wash.
• CITGO Petroleum Corp. unveiled a new multifaceted marketing program it hopes will strengthen and expand its presence in its remaining markets.
The company's remarketing efforts come as it prepares to debrand over 1,800 sites in seven states in the Midwest and Kentucky, Oklahoma and northern Texas.
The campaign began in June with the message “fueling more than your car.” The centerpiece of the program is the launch of a co-branded credit card, which offers a 20% rebate on CITGO purchases for the first two months.
Another part of the promotion is the launch of a new consumer website, www.FuelingTomorrow.com, aimed at drawing attention to CITGO's gasoline supply assurance and its commitment to social responsibility.
• The same month it unveiled its new marketing campaign, CITGO lost another major contract, this one for Susser Holdings Corp., a 320-plus store operation.
Valero will now have a virtual supply exclusive on Susser Holdings Corp. The loss represents less than 3 percent of CITGO's roughly 13,100 CITGO-branded locations, and the company will continue to supply a sizeable percent of Susser's 360-unit dealer network.
• Driven Brands Inc., the parent company of Meineke Car Care Centers Inc., has purchased Econo Lube N' Tune Inc.
Econo Lube is based in Newport Beach and operates 200 service centers on the West Coast.
Kenneth Walker, president of Charlotte, NC-based Driven Brands, said both chains offer many of the same services, but Meineke has a limited presence on the West Coast, although it has more than 850 shops in the U.S., South and Central America, Canada and China.
• A Hy-Vee, Inc. grocery store planned for a former Target store site in Des Moines, IA, will include a carwash and convenience store.
Hy-Vee grocery stores also offer floral, banking and pharmacy services. There are at least 8 sites with carwashes and over 60 with gas stations.
The Des Moines Planning and Zoning Commission changed the zoning of the construction site to allow this latest development to proceed.
Hy-Vee plans to build a 3,840-square-foot convenience store with 16 fueling stations on the site and a 1,400-square-foot drive-through carwash.
Hy-Vee hopes to complete the project by next summer. The company is an employee-owned corporation operating more than 220 retail stores in seven Midwestern states. The company employs more than 47,000 people.
• Brown Bear Car Wash was so happy that 25 of its 46 stolen bear statues were found and returned that it washed cars for free to thank the public.
The company offered free carwashes at all 19 of its locations. Brown Bear Car Wash is still concerned the other 100-pound statues will be melted down and sold for scrap.
The life-size bronze and copper bear statues were stolen from the company's warehouse.
• Shawn R. Brown, a carwash equipment service and installation technician and an instructor at CarWash College, died Sept. 2 of a heart attack. He was 42.
Brown had worked for SONNY’S as a technician for the past several years and was selected as one of the instructors in the equipment repair course when CarWash College, sponsored by SONNY’S, opened earlier this year. He previously had worked with Royal Equipment Supply in his hometown of Kalamazoo, MI, and later worked with Stone Soap Co., and TPC Auto Wash Supply.
He is survived by his wife, Tracey; a son, Michael R. Brown; daughter, Maddison; two step-children, Aaron and Kayla Stark; his parents, Michael Lee Brown and Chantal Hanel; a sister, Natalie Rose; and grandparents, Gaston and Christiane Jacqmart.
• Joe M. Sheetz, executive vice president of store development for Sheetz Inc., the convenience store chain, passed away Aug. 21. He had been diagnosed with kidney cancer in February.
In a letter to its vendor partners, the Sheetz family thanked everyone for their thoughts, prayers and cards. “Joe always enjoyed reading the cards and toward the end, listening as family members read the cards to him,” the letter said.
Sheetz operates 322 convenience locations throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina. Many locations have carwashes.
• Jeff Sawyer has been promoted to district manager of Autobell Car Wash Inc. for the Virginia locations.
Sawyer, 26, is a native of Blounts Creek, NC, and joined Autobell in the fall of 2003 after earning a Business Administration degree from Campbell University. He was promoted to assistant manager of the company's Garner, NC, location after six months of employment in 2004. He was then promoted to manager positions throughout North Carolina.
• Drew King, who owns Blessed Detail Auto Shop, is a member of the board of directors of CTRIBAT, a local program which helps at-risk teens. As part of the youth development program, King regularly invites youths to shadow him at his business to help them learn how to create, manage and develop their own business.